Rowing Ireland chief executive Hamish Adams hopes yesterday’s medal haul at the European Championships in Germany lays the foundation for glory at the Olympic Games in Rio later this year.
Cork brothers Paul O’Donovan and Gary O’Donovan won gold in the lightweight double sculls while later in the afternoon London 2012 Olympian Sanita Puspure secured bronze in the single sculls despite challenging conditions in Brandenburg.
All three are qualified for Brazil and Adams said Olympic gold is the top of his — and their — wishlist.
“Talk of an Olympic medal is natural in a year like this. As chief executive, I’m in the business to win an Olympic medal. Though they may not say it, that is why the lads are in it. That is why every athlete is in sport.
“Winning an Olympic medal is our biggest challenge. We have won lots of European and World championships but haven’t made the next step.”
The Skibbereen pair sprinted past Norway to snatch victory in 6:57.760 in the A final with Germany back in third.
Adams continued: “The conditions were extremely difficult with strong cross winds. Paul and Gary are extremely good in that type of environment and that was one of the things that stood to them down the last couple of hundred metres.
“All credit to Paul and Gary, they take everything in their stride. Hopefully, this is just another step along the line for them. Ultimately the prize is Olympic gold and now they are right in the hunt.”
The conditions had worsened by the time Puspure took the water but the 34-year-old fought hard to hold off double Olympic champion Ekaterina Karsten to take bronze behind Magdalena Lobnig (Austria) and Elza Gulbe (Latvia).
The lightweight pair of Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll along with Denise Wlash (lightweight single sculler) all finished fourth in their A finals, while the lightweight double of Sinéad Jennings and Claire Lambe were third in their B Final.
Adams continued: “What is also very pleasing in the level of consistency as the O’Donovans and Sanita also won medals at the World Cup Regatta in Italy last month while that was also a great performance by Sinéad Jennings and Claire Lambe as their preparations had been somewhat delayed earlier in the season by injury. Overall, we couldn’t have wished for much more.”
European Rowing Championships, Brandenburg, Germany – Day Three (Irish interest; selected results): Men: Lightweight Double Sculls – A Final: 1 Ireland (G O’Donovan, P O’Donovan) 6:57.76,
2 Germany 6:59.54, 3 Norway 7:00.52.
Lightweight Pair – A Final:
1 Britain (S Scrimgeour, J Cassells) 7:00.38, 2 Denmark 7:03.94, 3 Spain 7:05.32; 4 Ireland (M O’Donovan, S O’Driscoll) 7:09.67
Women: Lightweight Double Sculls – B Final (Places 7 to 12):
1 Sweden 7:27.70, 2 Britain 7:27.99, 3 Ireland (C Lambe, S Jennings) 7:30.28.
Single Sculls – A Final:
1 Austria (M Lobnig) 7:22.32, 2 Latvia (E Gulbe) 7:39.10, 3 Ireland (S Puspure) 9:44.77
Lightweight Single Sculls – A Final:
1 Germany (A Noske) 8:26.75, 2 Denmark 8:32.54, 3 Netherlands 8:37.05; 4 Ireland (D Walsh) 8:42.93.
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