Rowing Ireland Statement – Olympic Postponement

24.03.20

The International Olympic Committee has announced that the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed.

Rowing Ireland welcomes and understands this decision that was made in the best interest of the wellbeing for everyone involved. Our priorities are our athletes, coaches and staff. This decision is disappointing for our athletes who have been preparing and training to compete for the Olympics

Irish Rowing had four boats qualified for the Olympic games which would have been held in Tokyo, Japan this July. Women’s Single Scull, qualified by Sanita Puspure and Men’s Lightweight Double, qualified by Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan. The Men’s Double of Ronan Byrne and Phil Doyle and the Women’s Pair, qualified by Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley. The target for Rowing Ireland was to qualify the Women’s Four (W4-) and the Women’s Lightweight Double (LW2X) for the 2020 Olympics, bringing the total number of Irish boats to six.

Rowing Ireland’s Chief Executive Officer Michelle Carpenter said, “We are extremely disappointed for our athletes, coaches, their families and our Rowing Ireland family at this time. Everyone has made both personal and professional sacrifices to support them and their chance to compete at the Olympics this year is devastating.

We will continue to support the athletes, and we look forward to seeing them represent Ireland at future international regattas when we finally flatten this curve and get back to our normal lives of interacting and rowing together.

We had hoped for six Irish Boats in Tokyo and this a testament to the international success that we have achieved in the last number of years and the work that is done by the High-Performance team.

We look forward to the future and having our athletes represent Ireland again.”

Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni said, “We are saddened that our athletes will now not have the opportunity to represent Ireland at the Olympics this year. The sacrifice that they have made and the hours that they have put into training is extraordinary. For them, not to have the opportunity to compete at the Olympics this year is hard to accept.

With the circumstances that we can’t control, our attention now is focused on the future. We have four boats currently qualified, and our goal is still to qualify two more before the Olympics.

We are in an excellent place for Irish Rowing, and we must all keep up the hard work and focus through these difficult times.”

Rowing Ireland High-Performance Athletes Philip Doyle and Aifric Keogh said, “We are obviously devastated with the news even though we have seen it coming the last few weeks. It’s difficult to actually have it confirmed officially. The team has been working so hard and we have been doing so well physiologically this year with erg scores and boat speed better than ever, but we need to take a step back now as a group and plan for the next 16 months or so.

It’s hard not to lose perspective when it’s a decision so meaningful to us as a group of athletes but we can’t lose sight of the reason why they were postponed. We as a team are thankful every day that we haven’t experienced the loss of some countries and people out there from COVID-19. We want to thank all front-line staff for their work and extend our sympathy to athletes who have experienced loss from this pandemic.”

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