Boxers safely through on day one
Olympics: Yesterday's first morning of London 2012 yielded a gold medal for China before noon, but the Irish contingent, boxers apart, found the going a little harder than Yi Siling and her 10-metre air rifle.
Sanita Puspure was the only success story from the Irish camp in the morning, after she made the quarter-finals of the women’s single sculls after coming through the heats with the minimum of fuss at Eton Dorney.
The 30-year-old, originally from Latvia, was never likely to win a heat containing New Zealand powerhouse Emma Twigg, but an excellent start had her narrowly in front after 250 metres.
Twigg’s power soon began to tell and Puspure was also overtaken by Lithuania’s Donata Vistartaite. However, with the top four of the six starters qualifying automatically for Tuesday’s quarters, Puspure was able to hold on to third place without expending too much energy and is in good shape going into the next round.
Her time of 7:49.35 was some 20 seconds ahead of her nearest challenger, a fact that will give her real confidence when she returns to the water on Tuesday.
Belfast judoka Lisa Kearney, who received a bye into the last 16, was drawn against China’s Shugen Wu at the ExCel Arena. Despite giving away ten places in the world rankings, she forced a draw after five minutes to take the bout into overtime.
However, Shugen ended Kearney’s games when she came up with an Ippon to win on a "golden score" and advance to the quarter-finals. Kearney left the arena with her head held high and believes the experience will stand to her in future Games.
“I performed well, but I am just 23, and this is the start of things to come,” she said after the fight. “It was really good experience, and I hope to compete in the 2016 Olympics and the ones after that.”
Barry Murphy has until Thursday to get over a poor performance in the 100 metres breaststroke, the Dubliner’s strongest discipline. Murphy could only manage a time of 1:01.57 at the Aquatic Centre yesterday to trail home in last place in his heat.
Murphy, who felt he had not brought his best form in breaststroke into these Games, will now turn his attention to the 50m freestyle on Thursday where he is hoping for an improvement.
“Thankfully it is not my only event,” he said after his opening swim. “I’ve got the 50m freestyle where I’ve been showing good speed all year. I can forget about breaststroke now and start concentrating on the freestyle, which I haven’t been doing for a week or two.”
The 26-year-old will at least be hoping to post a personal best in that event, something he failed to achieve in the breaststroke.
“There’s good things and bad things,” he said of his performance today. "That’s the fastest time I’ve done in the morning, my second-fastest ever in the event. At the same time, this is the Olympic Games and you want to be coming in and swimming lifetime bests and ready to go.”