Lydia Heaphy reaches lightweight single sculls semi-finals at World Rowing Championships

Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan among the Irish crews in action on Wednesday morning

With momentum very much in tow the Irish crews move towards the business end of the World Rowing Championships on Wednesday, with Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan among those in quarter-final action looking to secure a place in the A/B semi-finals at the very least.

Already into the semi-final stage after Tuesday’s third day of racing in Racice, Czech Republic is Lydia Heaphy. After narrowly missing out on the direct route, Heaphy is back where she wanted to be, qualifying via the repechage of the women’s lightweight single sculls.

The Skibbereen rower was less than a second off the automatic route in Sunday’s heat, so was back on the water on Tuesday morning, racing into an early lead at the 500m mark.

From there, however, the Greek rower Zoi Fitsiou took charge, the recent European Championships silver medallist taking the win in 7:40.03, with Heaphy safe in second, just over a boat length behind in 7:40.03. Only the top two moved on to the A/B semi-finals, Heaphy still looking capable of making the final.


Her next race is on Thursday morning, Heaphy up against competition from South Africa, Iran, Mexico, Romania and the Netherlands.

Earlier, the Para-2 mixed double sculls crew of Katie O’Brien and Steven McGowen finished third in their heat, which means they’ll next race their repechage.

The pair from Galway Rowing Club were third throughout the race won by the Ukrainian crew in 8:25.21 ahead of the Dutch crew, O’Brien and McGowan finishing in 8:29.16. O’Brien is already into the four-boat final of the PR2 single sculls.

McCarthy and O’Donovan, the reigning World, Olympic and European champions, will continue their quest for another lightweight double sculls title on Wednesday morning when they take to the water in the quarter-finals.

The Skibbereen pair were the fastest of Sunday’s opening heats, winning the fifth of the five in 6:15.11, the local Czech crew holding on for second.

Like at the European Championships last month, when McCarthy and O’Donovan came through to win ahead of Italy and Switzerland, these again look like the crews to beat. They stay separated for now, however, Italy racing in the first quarter-final, the Irish crew in the third, the Swiss crew going in the fourth.

O’Donovan is looking to further extend his status as one of the most decorated sportsman in Irish sporting history: Olympic gold and Olympic silver, four World Championship titles, three European Championship gold medals and two silver.

Brian Colsh of University of Galway Boat Club is also out again in the quarter-finals of the men’s single sculls, after finishing third in his heat.

Hugh Moore goes in the quarter-final of the lightweight men’s single sculls, while Phil Doyle and Konan Pazzaia are out again in the men’s double after an impressive showing in their heat, finishing second to Britain.

Wednesday morning’s quarter-finals (all-times Irish)

Men’s single sculls (M1x): Brian Colsh (NUIG BC) 9.14 am

Lightweight men’s single sculls (LM1x): Hugh Moore (QUBBC) 9:49am

Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x): Paul O’Donovan (UCC RC), Fintan McCarthy (Skibbereen RC) 10:18am

Men’s double sculls (M2x): Phil Doyle (Belfast BC), Konan Pazzaia (QUBBC) 10.53 am

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics