Congress to consider major changes


ROWING:This is a big weekend for international rowing. The Fisa Extraordinary Congress in Copenhagen could make big changes to the way the sport is run, especially for lightweights – the category in which Ireland has excelled.

Ireland’s high-performance director, Morten Espersen, said yesterday that he was very much in favour of the proposal to push for the inclusion of the women’s lightweight single as an Olympic event. Ireland will be represented in Copenhagen by Fisa umpire Kieran Kerr.

Espersen has fixed the final Irish trial for the last weekend of March. He hopes to send crews to the first World Cup regatta at the Olympic venue, Dorney Lake, in June and the World Championships in South Korea in August.

Participation at the World Cup in Lucerne and at the European Championships will be dependent on funding.

The Dane said he was impressed by the standard at the recent Assessment in Newry. Both Sanita Puspure and Monika Dukarska came in under seven minutes on the ergometer for 2,000m; lightweights Justin Ryan and Niall Kenny also performed well and the under-23 men’s pair of Sean O’Connor and Fionnan McQuillan-Tolan were a big, promising crew on the water on Sunday.

The Lagan Head of the River provides the action tomorrow in Belfast, with heads starting at 11.30 and 3pm.

At the congress, the most controversial proposal would make each lightweight athlete in a crew boat achieve a set weight: the executive favours this because allowing an average weight has left some reaching for dangerous levels to compensate for bigger crew members.

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