Irish heavyweight pair finish fourth in New Zealand
Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan will compete in repechage on Sunday
Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll competed as a heavyweight pair for the first time on foreign waters at the North Island Championships in New Zealand. Photograph: Detlev Seyb/Inpho
Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan, the world champions in the lightweight pair, have had their first competitive outing as a heavyweight pair on foreign waters, the Skibbereen men finished fourth of six in the first of two heats of the Premier Pair at the North Island Championships in New Zealand.
They will compete in a repechage on Sunday, local time, and if they make it through this they will compete in a final on Monday.
O’Driscoll and O’Donovan opted to take on the challenge of the heavyweight event in the hope of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. They know this is the first step on a long road. They were using a borrowed boat in New Zealand and taking on local athletes in their summer season.
Paul O’Donovan, the world champion in the lightweight single sculls, took on the Premier Single Sculls, also a heavyweight event. He finished sixth and will compete in a repechage on Sunday. Gary O’Donovan finished sixth in the second heat and will take on his brother in the repechage.
The Premier Double Sculls, in which Paul and Gary O’Donovan compete, will be a straight final on Monday.
The four Ireland rowers intend to compete in the New Zealand National Championships from February 13th to 17th.
North Island Rowing Championships, Lake Karapiro, New Zealand (Irish interest)
Men, Premier Pair – Heat One (First to final; rest to repechage): 4 Skibbereen (S O’Driscoll, M O’Donovan) 6:44.25.
Premier Single Sculls – Heat One (Winner to Final; rest to Repechage): 6 Skibbereen (P O’Donovan) 7:25.42. Heat Two: 6 Skibbereen (G O’Donovan) 7:28.38.