Schools row in behind Sanita Puspure to help celebrate her success

She’s sacrificed a lot of family time to reach the top but world champion rower, Sanita Puspure, enjoyed some golden moments at her kids’ schools yesterday.

The best female rower in the world received a hero’s welcome as she first visited her son, Patrick, and his pals at Scoil Eoin in Ballincollig, Co Cork, before crossing the road to visit her daughter, Daniela, and her schoolmates at Scoil Mhuire girls’ primary school.

She said she has missed many school breakfasts and school runs because of her punishing training regime but is now delighted to share her success with them and their friends.

“For me, it’s important to still be accessible,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are a world champion or an Olympic champion, you still want to be accessible to kids and hopefully they can take something out of the success.”

Sanita, 36, struck gold earlier this month when she won the women’s single sculls at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

After several years of being just outside the medals, Sanita destroyed the field to finish two lengths ahead of defending champion, Swiss rower, Jeannine Gmelin. It was her first medal of any type at a World Championships.

She told students they can draw inspiration from her story: “Over the years, some races didn’t go so well but I never gave up. There were times when I wanted to give up but I didn’t. There will be hard times but the good times will follow.”

Scoil Eoin first class teacher, Eimear Walsh, who came second with her rowing partner, Sarah O’Mahony, in the All Ireland offshore rowing championships recently, said Sanita is an inspiration.

“Hopefully her success will encourage more boys and girls to take up rowing,” she said.

Scoil Mhuire principal, Mairéad Ní Mhurchú, said Sanita has always been a Scoil Mhuire mum.

“But now you’re a world champion mum,” she said.

Sanita, who appeared on last night’s Late Late Show, said the Irish rowing team’s success at the world championships proves that investment in the sport can deliver.

“It’s great that we can punch above our weight

despite the funding issues, and still deliver,” she said.

“Obviously more funding would make things easier but we will do well with whatever we get. If it’s there, it’s there, and if it’s not we’ll manage.”

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