Sanita Puspure turns back clock with dominant win at Paris Qualifying Regatta

Konan Pazzaia and the women’s four also on course to qualify for Paris

Sanita Puspure is bang on course to qualify for her fourth Olympics, after the 42-year-old was the fastest winner of the women’s singles heats on the opening day of the final Paris Qualifying Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland.

The two-time World Champion, who had spent a few seasons in the double and four, won her heat by over 12 seconds, making the most of the calm conditions on the Rotsee to book her place her Monday’s semi-finals.

The top three there will progress to Tuesday’s final, where three Olympic slots are available, but one will go to a country which hasn’t yet qualified a boat for Paris. For Puspure, who has competed in the last three consecutive Games, the marker has already been laid down.

There was an opening victory too for Konan Pazzaia in the men’s singles. The 23-year-old Swiss-born rower, with an Irish mother, also looks primed for Paris qualification, though he must navigate two races on Monday to make Tuesday’s final, where like Puspure he’ll need to finish in the top two.


The women’s four were first on the water on Sunday morning, their preliminary race of six crews essentially deciding lane draws for Tuesday’s straight final, and they finished a close second to Denmark.

Having qualified late for Tokyo and then winning bronze medals, there are high hopes for this crew too, the 2024 quartet of Imogen Magner, Eimear Lambe, Natalie Long and Emily Hegarty well clear of Poland in third. In this sort of form it also seems Paris beckons.

Ireland has already qualified six boats for Paris; the women’s and men’s pairs and doubles, and the two lightweight doubles.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

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