Two Irish crews have won medals at the first World Rowing Cup of 2016, following an exhilarating weekend of world class racing in Varese, Italy. Gary O’ Donovan from Skibbereen Co. Cork, and his brother Paul who rows for UCD, took silver in the A Final of the lightweight men’s double sculls in a thrilling sprint to the finish line on Sunday. They finished just behind the South African duo of James Thompson and John Smith, who denied the Irish crew of gold by just .23 of a second. The O’ Donovan brothers have already qualified for the Olympics in Rio, and this performance confirms that they are preparing well and capable of competing with the best.
Sanita Puspure finished in third place in the A Final of the women’s single sculls, behind Carling Zeeman of Canada and double Olympic champion Ekaterina Karsten, who she had beaten in the semi final the day before. Puspure kept a steady pace until the final third of the race where she produced an incredibly strong sprint to the line, securing a bronze medal. Sanita next faces into the Olympic qualifying regatta in May.
Sinéad Lynch and Claire Lambe, who are also Rio bound, won the C Final of the women’s lightweight double on Saturday, placing 13th overall. Denise Walsh won the B Final of the lightweight single, to place seventh, and the overall finishing positions of the lightweight men’s four and women’s pair were 16th and 15th respectively.
A promising start to the 2016 season for Rowing Ireland, and with European Championships and World Cups still to come, we continue to encourage and support our athletes and look forward to more medals as the Olympic dream draws ever closer. Congratulations to all our crews.
Karol Doherty has yet to race in the 2016 Final Paralympic Qualifying Regatta in Gavirate, Italy, which takes place from 21st-23rd April. He is currently training in Gavirate and will race in his first heat on Thursday morning. We wish Karol the very best of luck as he strives for Paralympic qualification and his ticket to Rio.
A provisional programme for this event is available here.