Lightweight men may be left in women’s wake
Success of Sanita Puspure raises question of men’s boats for 2016
John Holland: “In the short term we are going to see is there any possibility of doing a [lightweight] four.” Photograph: Inpho
Ireland’s top three Olympic-class crews share two traits: they showed themselves to be on course for Rio at the recent World Championships; and they are all women’s crews.
Ireland has not had an internationally competitive heavyweight crew in years, and there are just two lightweight men’s slots for the Olympics: the lightweight four and lightweight double sculls. The prospects of forming a crew or crews in these disciplines could become clear as early as next weekend.
Twenty-eight lightweight oarsmen have put themselves forward at the National Rowing Centre in the run-up to the first Ireland assessment for 2015 next month.
John Holland, a four-time Olympic coach, has been asked by Ireland performance director Morten Espersen to help. There will be a strong development element, with an eye on Tokyo 2016. “But in the short term we are going to see is there any possibility of doing a [lightweight] four,” said Holland.
Training regularlyPaul GriffinTim HarnedyNiall Kenny
However, Ireland’s top lightweight, Paul O’Donovan, is sticking to his guns in preferring to try to campaign in a lightweight double rather than a four. He finished fourth in the world in the lightweight single, and Espersen thinks he will not find a competitor to match his class in a double. But O’Donovan is clear in his preference: “I’d like to give the double a go,” he said.