Sanita Puspure is the latest athlete to join Ireland’s Olympic Games tilt in the summer.
The Latvian-born rower, who came to Ireland in 2006 and who moved from Dublin to Cork last year to aid her Olympic dream, will compete in the women’s single sculls in London after finishing fourth in the Olympic qualifying race in Lucerne.
With the first four progressing to London, Puspure needed to hold off Serbia’s Iva Obradovic and Estonian Kaisa Pajusalu to clinch her place at the Games, and did so by a narrow margin.
The Inniscarra-based former Old Collegians rower has competed for Ireland at World Cups since 2010, but wasn’t allowed compete at World Championships or Olympic Games until her Irish passport came through last year.
Twice an international medallist for Latvia, Puspure won a gold medal in the double scull at the World Student Games in 2004, having claimed bronze at the World Under-23s the year before.
Puspure, while coached by Phil O’Keeffe, won the Senior Sculls in the Irish National Championships in 2009 and 2010, with the latter year also seeing her claim double sculls glory. 2011 saw two victories at the Henley Regatta, after moving with her two Irish-born children to Cork.
Ireland’s three cycling slots and five in equestrian have yet to be filled, with triathletes Aileen Morrison and Gavin Noble due to have their Olympic passports stamped by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, Sycerika McMahon followed up yesterday’s Olympic qualification by claiming fifth place in the women’s 100m breaststroke final at the European Swimming Championships in Debrecen, Hungary.
17-year-old McMahon’s time of 1:08.72 was 35-hundredths of a second outside her new Irish record set twice yesterday of 1:08.37.
Germany’s Sarah Powe took gold in 1:07.33.
Another swimmer fresh from Olympic qualification, Melanie Nocher, didn’t make it out of the 100m backstroke heats, clocking 1:03.42 while Dubliner Karl Burdis bowed out in the semi-finals of the 50m backstroke, having qualified 15th fastest this morning.
It’s another big day for the Irish tomorrow as the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team aim for London. Sycerika McMahon, Melanie Nocher, Nuala Murphy and Bethany Carson will need to post a time which would rank them inside the world’s top 16 in order to reach the Olympic Games.
The Ukraine are currently ranked in 16th palce with a time of 8:06.42, currently over a second better than the Irish Record of 8:07.66, set at the last year’s World Championships.
Also tomorrow, Fiona Doyle and Shani Stallard will swim the heats of the 200m breaststroke, while Irish senior record holder Bethany Carson will swim the 100m butterfly.