#Rowing: Ireland’s gold medallists at the World Championships, Paul and Gary O’Donovan and Sanita Puspure, are the Afloat Rowers of the Month for September.
The whole Ireland team performed with merit at the regatta in Plovdiv in Bulgaria and there were a number of outstanding placings. The men’s lightweight quadruple reached their A Final, while Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne finished ninth overall in the men’s double sculls.
The women’s pair of Aifric Keogh and Emily Hegarty swept into the A Final, one of the real shocks of the Championships. They took sixth.
The O’Donovan brothers had to battle through a terrible lane draw on the Wednesday to reach Thursday’s semi-final. It left them tired and they made it through to the final by taking the third qualification place in the semi-final with just 1.52 seconds to spare over Poland. Come the final it was a step up; a step into history. They made light of their outside lane with a sweet and powerful row they deemed their best ever as a lightweight double. Italy could not live with it and Ireland had won their first ever gold medal in an Olympic event at a World Championships.
The women’s single sculls has been a fascinating event for years. Australia’s Kim Crow (now Brennan) was the star who shone all the way to a golden show in Rio in 2016; latterly Switzerland’s Jeannine Gmelin has been a winner. And now the time had come for Ireland’s Sanita Puspure. She won the heat and the semi-finals with elan, as if impatient to take on and beat Gmelin. She did this despite having to deal with choppy conditions in the final and she clipped a buoy. However, Puspure was never headed from early on, and she won with over two lengths to spare. For seven minutes and 20.12 seconds she was, indeed, dominant.
Congratulations to all the Ireland teams this season and to the Afloat Rowers of the Month, Sanita Puspure and Paul O’Donovan and Gary O’Donovan.
Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times and David O'Brien, Editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2018 champions list grow.