Ireland claims silver and bronze at World Rowing Cup in Belgrade

The Irish rowing team have claimed two medals at the World Rowing Cup I in Belgrade this morning.

Two of Ireland's three remaining crews also finished among the top 10 boats in their respective categories in Serbia.

First to race for Ireland was the well-known Skibbereen duo, Gary and Paul O’Donovan, in the lightweight men’s double sculls A Final.

It was an extremely tight contest throughout, much like the previous day’s racing.

The O’ Donovans had produced the fastest time of the day in yesterday’s semi-finals, and again today the top three boats all crossed the line within 1.06 seconds of each other.

Poland took Gold, while just 0.01 of a second separated Belgium and Ireland who took Silver and Bronze respectively in a photo finish.

Ireland’s second A-Finalist, Sanita Puspure, was next to race in the women’s single sculls and faced tough competition from current World Champion Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland.

Also racing was 2017 European Champion, Victoria Thornley of Great Britain and 2016 European Champion, Magdalena Lobnig of Austria.

Puspure was not the fastest sculler off the start, but steadily progressed up through the field overtaking Thornley, Thiele of Germany, and eventually Lobnig in an impressive sprint in the final 500 metres which earned her the silver medal, just less than three seconds behind World Champion Gmelin.

On the World Rowing website following the race, Puspure said: “I’m very happy with the result, all the women are great out there and could have all got a medal.”

As the morning’s medals were presented, the B Finals got underway in which Ireland had three crews yet to race.

Both the women’s double scull of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley, and the women’s pair of Aifric Keogh and Emily Hegarty finished third in their finals, placing both crews in 9th position overall at the end of the first World Cup event.

Finally, the lightweight women’s double of Denise Walsh and Margaret Cremen were 6th in the B Final and finish 12th overall as a result.

Recently appointed Rowing Ireland CEO, Michelle Carpenter, was happy with the weekend’s results, saying: “Very positive results this weekend in our first stage of racing in the World Cup series.

"I feel very proud to see Sanita back on form in her field and hitting targets in the wake of World Champion Jeannine Gmelin, as well as seeing Gary and Paul battling it out in a tight finish with the Belgian and Polish crews and continuing to produce medals.

“I’m also extremely proud of our women’s heavyweight pair and double in their first races together in the international series, as well as our lightweight women’s double.

We are on a good pathway now coming into the summer as the World series continues, which will finish with the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in September.

Irish results at today's World Cup I Regatta in Belgrade:

Women’s single sculls – A Final: 1. SUI (J Gmelin) 7:22.78, 2. IRL (S Puspure) 7:25.30, 3. AUT (M Lobnig) 7:25.51, 4. GER1 (A Thiele) 7:27.78, 5. GBR (V Thornley) 7:27.93, 6. DEN (F Erichsen) 7:31.96

Women’s double sculls – B Final: 1. SUI 6:58.77, 2. FRA 6:58.86, 3. IRL 7:03.79, 4. HUN 7:13.84, 5. KOR 7:17.76

Women’s lightweight double sculls – B Final: 1. CAN 6:55.88, 2. GER 6:56.63, 3. POL 6:59.17, 4. USA2 7:00.49, 5. CHN1 7:00.98, 6. IRL 7:07.77

Women’s pair – B Final: 1. POL 7:14.30, 2. CHN3 7:15.98, 3. IRL 7:16.37, 4. CHN1 7:18.49, 5. SRB 7:21.74, 6. CHN2 7:30.12

Lightweight men’s double sculls – A Final: 1. POL 6:13.04, 2. BEL 6:14.09, 3. IRL 6:14.10, 4. CAN2 6:17.27, 5. AUT 6:17.32, 6. SUI1 6:23.87

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