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Record Number of Team Ireland Rowers Confirmed for Tokyo 2020

18th June 2021
From left: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty
From left: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty qualified for Tokyo in Lucerne last month Credit: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Team Ireland has officially selected 13 rowers to compete across six boats at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

The Olympic rowing regatta takes place in the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay between 23 and 30 July.

Among the Irish squad travelling to Tokyo are some of the most successful rowers on the circuit, containing multiple world and European champions and medallists.

Qualification for the Olympic Games gave Irish athletes two opportunities to claim and Olympic spot. At the World Championships in 2019, Ireland qualified four boats: the Lightweight Men’s Double Scull, Women’s Single Scull, Men’s Double Scull and the Women’s Pair, coming home with two golds and a silver medal on the way to securing their places.

At the final Olympic qualification regatta in Lucerne last month, the Women’s Four and the Lightweight Women’s Double Scull stormed home to book their ticket.

Olympic silver medallist Paul O’Donovan will be competing in his second Olympic Games, this time partnering fellow Skibbereen rower Fintan McCarthy.

Pictured are the Men’s Double Scull pair of Ronan Byrne (left) and Philip Doyle | Credit: Seb Daly/SportsfilePictured are the Men’s Double Scull pair of Ronan Byrne (left) and Philip Doyle | Credit: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Speaking on his official selection, the triple World Champion said: “The Olympic Games are a really special competition, and as a rower it is often what you are driving towards. Each Olympic games is unique in its own way, with Tokyo being no exception, and as a squad we are going into them with high ambitions.

“We have worked hard since we set our Olympic goal, and it is nice to be officially selected ahead of the final weeks of preparation. Fintan and I are ready to push on and excited about doing some racing, and we can see that our teammates are equally driven and striving for excellence.”

Team Ireland Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Tricia Heberle, said: “It is great to welcome such a large and high calibre group of Rowers to Team Ireland. We didn’t imagine that we would qualify so many crews and to have genuine medal prospects within the team is even more exciting.

“This is a day to celebrate what hard work, determination and high ambition can achieve. It is also a time to acknowledge all of the people behind the scenes, key performance support staff who every day are working with the athletes and coaches to make them better.”

The Olympic Federation of Ireland says one of the key driving forces behind the success of the Team Ireland rowers is performance director Antonio Maurogiovanni.

“This is a big moment for us, and we are going to the Olympic Games with the largest squad of Irish rowers in history and with a record number of six crews qualified,” he said.

Ireland’s Women’s Single rower in Tokyo is Sanita Puspure | Credit: Seb Daly/SportsfileIreland’s Women’s Single rower in Tokyo is Sanita Puspure | Credit: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

“I am very proud to be working with this group of athletes, coaches and administrators. Each of them has put in a considerable amount of work these past few years in preparation for Tokyo. The athletes and coaches’ dedication has shown how determined they are to represent Ireland at the highest level.

“We all must remember that the majority of this team, coaches included, is at the very first Olympic Games, which confirm the excellent job that coaches and athletes have done.

“We’re a small country, but we’ve proven we can perform and achieve alongside the world’s best. As a team, we are not just satisfied to go to the Olympics to make up numbers, but we are going with the ambitions to be as competitive as possible.”

Rowing is the first competition on the Irish schedule of events, and world champion Sanita Puspure will be the first Team Ireland athlete to compete in Tokyo 2020.

The officially selected rowers for the Olympic Games are:

Lightweight Men’s Double Scull (LM2X)

  • Fintan McCarthy (Cork)
  • Paul O’Donovan (Cork)
  • Gary O’Donovan (Cork) - Reserve

Women’s Single Scull (W1X)

  • Sanita Puspure (Cork)

Men’s Double Scull (M2X)

  • Ronan Byrne (Cork)
  • Philip Doyle (Belfast)
  • Daire Lynch (Clonmel) - Reserve

Women’s Four (W4-)

  • Emily Hegarty (Cork)
  • Fiona Murtagh (Galway)
  • Eimear Lambe (Dublin)
  • Aifric Keogh (Galway)
  • Tara Hanlon (Cork) - Reserve

Women’s Pair (W2-)

  • Monika Dukarska (Kerry)
  • Aileen Crowley (Kerry)

Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (LW2X)

  • Aoife Casey (Cork)
  • Margaret Cremen (Cork)
  • Lydia Heaphy (Cork) - Reserve
Published in Rowing
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