World Rowing Championships 2018
Thursday September 13th
Ireland had another exciting day at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv today with three boats now qualified for medal contending A finals and two more yet to race in A/B semi-finals tomorrow morning (Friday) which could lead to further medal races.
Day five of the week-long regatta got off to a superb start when UCC’s Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle of QUBBC dominated their repechage of the men’s double, storming ahead of the field to establish a clear lead and win by more than three seconds, securing their place in tomorrow’s A/B semi-final
The recently formed heavyweight double, racing together in their first international and world level event, set out to make their mark today as they powered ahead of Egypt, Bulgaria, Argentina and Russia to lead by a good margin at the 500m mark. The Irish crew left no doubt as to their intention and potential, finishing the race with today’s fastest qualifying repechage time. Switzerland, Poland, Estonia, Norway, France, Romania and Bulgaria also qualified following today’s reps. They will join New Zealand, Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany in tomorrow’s semi-finals.
The Irish women’s pair of UCC’s Emily Hegarty and Aifric Keogh also gave an outstanding performance this morning, winning their semi-final to qualify for the A final on Saturday. The Irish pair, who were placing fifth throughout the majority of the race, looked like they might not get through to the medals race until the last 500m when they progressively pushed through the field, passing USA, Spain and finally Italy to cross the line first in an exhilarating tight finish, winning ahead of Italy by 0.02 seconds.
It’s an incredible achievement for this new crew combination of 20-year old Hegarty and 26 year-old Keogh, to reach the World Championship A final at this early stage of their crew development under the guidance of High Performance coach, David McGowan and Ireland High Performance director, Antonio Maurogiovanni.
Olympic Silver medalists Paul and Gary O’Donovan later gave a nail biting performance in the LM2x A/B semi-final, placing third to qualify for Saturday’s A final.
Only the top three boats were to progress to the medals race and the lightweight double, who were ranking fourth until the half-way mark, battled it out with Belgium for the second qualifying spot behind Italy who were out in front from the off. However, the O’Donovans – who had a tough race yesterday in challenging conditions – pulled out all the stops to stave off Poland and secure the third qualifying position. They will aim to make the most of tomorrow’s recovery day to be in peak condition for Saturday’s final.
In the early afternoon, Ireland’s lightweight women’s double of Denise Walsh and Aoife Casey won their C/D semi final, ahead of Spain in second and Thailand in third, to qualify for the C final of their event which takes place on Saturday.
That wasn’t long before the Irish heavyweight men’s pair and reigning lightweight World Champions, Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan, who had a tough race in the morning’s quarter final where they placed fifth, took to the water again for the C/D semi final.
The afternoon semi-final race saw them power down the course at an average rate of 44 strokes per minute or more. The Irish pair looked set to secure a comfortable second place behind Australia before Italy made a late challenge and crossed the line an identical time with the Irish boat with the Netherlands 0.04 of a second behind them. Ireland, Italy and Australia now all progress to Saturday’s C final where they will meet the USA, Poland and Brazil, all of whom had slightly slower times than Ireland in the semi-finals.
Race times for Irish crews at on Friday September 14th World Rowing Championships: (all times IST)
07.19 M2x (men’s double) A/B Semi-final Ronan: Byrne & Philip Doyle
08.07 W1x (women’s single scull) A/B semi final: Sanita Puspure
10.30 LM4x (lightweight men’s quad) A Final (medal race): Andrew Goff, Fintan McCarthy, Ryan Ballantine, Jake McCarthy
Follow the races live on World Rowing website