Claire Lambe is Ireland’s chief medal hope in World Cup regatta at Dorney Lake

Claire Lambe’s task in her heat at the World Cup regatta at  Dorney Lake is to finish in the top two of four, with the eventual aim a top-three place in a field of 10. Photograph: Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images.

Claire Lambe’s task in her heat at the World Cup regatta at Dorney Lake is to finish in the top two of four, with the eventual aim a top-three place in a field of 10. Photograph: Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images.

 

Claire Lambe is Ireland’s big medal hope at the World Cup Regatta at Dorney Lake in England, which begins today. The 23-year-old Dubliner, who was fourth at the European Championships in the lightweight single sculls, is the experienced campaigner in an Ireland team of World Cup debutants.

Lightweight sculler Paul O’Donovan is just 19, and the new women’s double scull of Leonora Kennedy – who transferred from the British system earlier this year – and Monika Dukarska will get their first competitive outing as a crew at 11.20.

Fighting chance
The double have at least a fighting chance of qualifying directly from their heats.

This may be the first major international event at this course since the Olympics, but the entry is not huge. Nine women’s doubles will compete – and Dukarska and Kennedy will go directly to the A Final if they finish in the top two of four in their heat this morning.

O’Donovan’s chances come at longer odds. There are 18 crews, and just two of six in the Skibbereen man’s heat (9.50) go directly to the semi-finals. New Zealand’s Duncan Grant, the World Cup winner in Sydney earlier this year, is in the lane beside O’Donovan.

Lambe headed for the Europeans straight from exams and should be much better prepared when she competes in her heat at 9.40. Her task today is finish in the top two of four, with the eventual aim a top-three place in a field of 10.

In the heat, Fabiana Beltrame of Brazil will be favourite to fill the top spot.

Fourth in Sydney
Ruth Walczak of Britain will hope to qualify, though she is a new competitor in this boat; she was fourth in the Sydney World Cup. She is coached by Neasa Folan of Molesey, sister of Irish Olympian Cormac Folan.

Ireland will have two totally new pararowing crews in action this weekend. Tom Kelly goes in the Arms and Shoulders single sculls and Katie O’Brien and Keith Connolly in the Legs and Arms mixed double sculls. Coach John Armstrong says the primary aim is to have the crews graded.

Back in Ireland, the Castleconnell Sprints have a fine entry tomorrow, mostly from underage crews.