There was a heartbreaking end to Sanita Puspure’s Olympic dream yesterday with the 34-year-old missing out on a place in the single sculls semi-finals by 0.65 of a second.
The 34-year-old finished fourth with the top three qualifying — her time of 7:28.68 would have been good enough to progress in the three other heats.
The odds were stacked against Puspure from the outset, as the field contained the veteran Belarusian Ekaterina Karsten (six-time world champion and twice Olympic gold medallist), Australia’s Kim Brennan (2013 and 2015 world champion), and Jingli Duan of China (bronze at the last two world championships).
Puspure, who also competed in London in 2012, struggled from the outset and was well off the pace over the opening 1500m stretch. But she dug deep and produced a massive surge down the final 500m but ‘ran out of water’ as she chased down Karsten.
A tearful Puspure admitted: “I tried to stay with my own race and do what we were planning to do but probably let them go a little bit too far away. I started pushing on from 1000m like planned and had a big finish but unfortunately came up a little bit short.
“The plan was to be sensible for the first 1000m and gradually just turn the screw and keep going. I thought that was what I did but obviously everyone else did exactly the same,” she told the42.ie.
Puspure will now compete in the C/D semi-finals but it is of little consolation.
“I’m not even thinking about that. It’s a grief process, get over it and keep going. The first thing I said today when I came in is ‘I’m never going to an Olympics again’. It’s been two huge disappointments.”
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