Jenny Egan wins Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of Month award
Canoeist became first Irish medallist in K1 5,000m at World Championships this year
Irish canoeist Jenny Egan won two World Cup medals in the space of a week. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
It’s a busy spell ahead for Jenny Egan with the European Games in Belarus (June 21st to 30th) and the World Championships in Hungary (August 21st to 25th) the key dates in her schedule, but she won’t be lacking in confidence heading in to those events after enjoying yet more success in May, winning two World Cup medals in the space of a week.
It was last summer that Egan won bronze in the K1 5,000m at the Sprint Canoe World Championships in Portugal, becoming Ireland’s first ever medallist in the event, also winning gold over the same distance at the sprint World Cup in the same country, and she has carried that form in to the new campaign.
In her first 5,000m race of the year, at the opening World Cup of the season in Poznan, the 32-year-old missed out on gold by less than a second, Ukraine’s Inna Hryshchun pipping her in the sprint for the line, but she had added yet another medal to her collection.
And a week later Egan was back on the World Cup podium, this time in Duisburg, once again involved in the tightest of finishes, crossing the line just behind Australian pair Alyce Burnett and Alyssa Bull.
She faces the challenges ahead, then, in high spirits, among her targets this summer qualification for Tokyo in 2020, a top five finish at the World Championships required to seal her place. Egan, a member of the Salmon Leap club in Leixlip, agonisingly missed out on making it to the last two Olympic Games, but it won’t be any easier qualifying this time with only the shorter 200m and 500m distances included in the Olympic programme.
She’s been putting plenty of work in to those distances, though, in the hope of making it to Tokyo, and will test herself in Minsk in both the 200m and 500m, as well as her favoured 5,000m, before turning her focus to the World Championships.
It has, then, been an encouraging start to the season for Egan, two World Cup medals already won, not to mention the Sportswoman of the Month award for May.
PREVIOUS MONTHLY WINNERS
(Awards run from December 2018 to November 2019, inclusive)
December: Mona McSharry (Swimming)
The Sligo swimmer ended her 2018 in some style at the Irish Short-Course Championships in Lisburn, collecting six titles in the space of just three days as well as breaking six national records. The highlight for McSharry was the breaking of Michelle Smith’s 23-year-old 100m freestyle record. And she’s carried on breaking records since, the latest the Irish 50m fly mark which she broke at May’s Glasgow International Swim Meet.
January: Phil Healy (Athletics)
The 24-year-old Cork woman took our January award for the second year running after an impressive start to the season, once again winning the 400m at the Vienna International Indoor Meet, ahead of European and World medallists Lissane De Whitte and Eilidh Doyle, maintaining that form at the Millrose Games in New York where she finished a close second to the USA’s Jaide Stepter.
February: Ciara Mageean (Athletics)
Another runner to have a sparkling start to 2019, Mageean opening the year by setting a new Irish indoor mile record in Boston, taking two seconds off her Irish Indoor 1,500m record before winning bronze in the 1500m at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
March: Rachael Blackmore (Horse racing)
The Tipperary woman pushed Paul Townend all the way in the race to become Irish champion jockey, having the season of her life, finishing up on 91 winners. There were few better days, though, than when she picked up two Cheltenham successes, including the first Grade One victory of her career.
April: Leona Maguire (Golf)
After seven tournaments, all of her top 10 rivals having played one to three more, Maguire tops the rankings on the Symetra Tour, putting her on track for qualification for next season’s LPGA Tour. The highlight of her year so far was her victory at the Windsor Golf Classic in California, her first ever professional triumph.