Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Rower Sanita Puspure Honoured at Sportswoman Awards

5th January 2021
Sanita Puspure Sanita Puspure Photo: INPHODetlev Seyb

Rower Sanita Puspure was honoured at The Irish Times / Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year Awards after she successfully defended her European title in Poznan, Poland.

Despite having her training regime seriously disrupted and the European Championships being her first competitive event of the year, Puspure was in total control of the single sculls by the halfway stage and cruised to a comfortable victory of over Austrian Magdalena Lobnig and Anneta Kyridou of Greece.

The victory was all the more impressive given last year’s Sportswoman of the Year told RTE she had found training alone a real challenge. “As an athlete it was very hard because we're so used to that competitive environment in training - that's what keeps us going and pushes us every day. The intention to train well was there but I don't think I did because subconsciously there was no motivation to push myself to the very limit of what I could have done.”

Despite those lockdown struggles, the Ballincollig based rower, who is 39, produced the goods yet again to claim her sixth major international medal.

This is the 17th year of the awards and Puspure, who won the overall award last year, was among 11 other monthly award winners nominated for the 2020 title including runner Ciara Mageean, golfer Stephanie Meadow and soccer player Diane Caldwell.

However the overall award this year went to the August winner, Katie Taylor, the undisputed world lightweight champion who was crowned The Irish Times / Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year for 2020. It’s the Bray boxer’s fifth time to win the award and comes after she enjoyed a highly successful 2020, defending her titles against Belgian rival Delfine Persoon and Miriam Gutierrez from Spain.

Accepting the award from her US base in Connecticut, she said it was a privilege and a great honour to be recognised in this way. She said that turning professional had been beyond her wildest dreams. “These have definitely been the most enjoyable few years of my whole career and this is coming after my lowest point as well, the Rio Olympics, so it really has been an amazing few year.”

Former soccer international star Olivia O’Toole, the most capped Irish women’s international soccer player of all time, was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award 2020. O’Toole, who represented her country 130 times in a career which stretched from 1991 to 2009, is also Ireland’s record goal scorer at women’s international level with 54 goals.

Katie Taylor played with O’Toole for Ireland and during her interview with RTE’s Des Cahill she described her as the best player she ever played with and the best player we are ever going to see.

Tributes

Paying tribute to the 2020 winners, Sports Editor of The Irish Times Malachy Logan said it had to be acknowledged that they overcame a unique set of challenges this year. “They all had to cope with constraints on training, the use of facilities and limits on travel. Nevertheless, they showed the dedication and resilience that marks them out as outstanding competitors and brilliant role models for the tens of thousands of girls who would like to follow in their footsteps.”

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said: “2020 may not have been the sporting year that we anticipated, but we have been very fortunate to witness many memorable achievements from our top sportswomen over the course of the last twelve months. Not only have impressive performances and achievements on the pitch been recognised, but it is important and fitting that a number of contributions off the field of play have also been rewarded.

“Each and every award recipient is an excellent ambassador for their sport and their country and I thank them for their commitment. I would like to acknowledge Sport Ireland and the Irish Times for continuing to recognise the incredible contribution of Irish women in sport. I would like to congratulate all of the monthly winners and also pay tribute to their families and all of the coaches and support teams who have helped them to reach the highest levels of sport.”

The Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Sport, Jack Chambers TD said: “It’s important that our young and aspiring athletes have role models to look up to and today we are honouring twelve such role models who have all excelled in their chosen code. While our top athletes have been keeping us all entertained during these difficult months, there have been great strides made in the number of women and girls participating in sport and physical activity.

“We have seen the gender gap in sports participation narrow to the lowest it has ever been, while the National Governing Bodies of Sport and the Local Sports Partnerships, with the support of Sport Ireland, have been doing fantastic work on the ground to increase and sustain participation at all levels. I congratulate all of today’s winners and look forward to what will hopefully be another excellent year for Irish athletes in 2021.”

Sport Ireland Chairman Kieran Mulvey described the day as one of the best in the Irish sporting calendar. “Today we celebrate all that is positive about sport both on and off the playing field as we honour Ireland’s top sporting talent. While many of our sporting arenas have unfortunately remained idle for much of the year, we have been lucky that our top athletes have been able to continue their training and competition.”

“Through their performances and contributions, this group of individuals has given the nation a real lift in the uncertain year that was 2020 and for that we thank them dearly. I congratulate each of the monthly award winners on their achievements and wish them well for what will hopefully be a year filled with sporting action in 2021.”

Monthly winners

  • December 2019 winner Fionnuala McCormack (Athletics)
  • January winners Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal (Cycling)
  • February winner Rachael Blackmore (Horse racing)
  • March winner Diane Caldwell (Soccer)
  • April winner Kellie Harrington (Boxing)
  • May winner Orlagh Farmer (Gaelic Football)
  • June winner Gina Akpe-Moses (Athletics)
  • July winner Ciara Mageean (Athletics)
  • August winner Katie Taylor (Boxing)
  • September winner Martina McMahon (Handball)
  • October winner Sanita Puspure (Rowing)
  • November winner Stephanie Meadow (Golf)
Published in Rowing
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button
Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2020?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating