Paul O’Donovan reaches heavyweight final in New Zealand

23-year-old sculler finishes second in the repechage of the Premier Single Sculls

Paul O’Donovan has reached the final of the heavyweight single sculls in New Zealand. Photograph: Detlev Seyb/Inpho

Paul O’Donovan has reached the final of the heavyweight single sculls in New Zealand. Photograph: Detlev Seyb/Inpho

 

Paul O’Donovan, the world lightweight champion in the single sculls, qualified for the final of the heavyweight single sculls at the North Island Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro in New Zealand on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Skibbereen sculler took second in the repechage of the Premier Single Sculls behind Matthew Dunham and ahead of Mahe Drysdale, the reigning Olympic champion. All three qualified. Drysdale took more than a year off after his victory in Rio, but hopes to compete in Tokyo 2020. Gary O’Donovan finished fourth in the repechage and misses out on the final, which is on Monday.

The world champions in the lightweight pair, Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll, have used the event as a first test as they upscale to heavyweight, with their eyes on a place in Tokyo in 2020. They finished fourth in repechage of the Premier Pair and missed out on the final.

Paul O’Donovan will have a busy Monday: he is set to compete in the Premier Single final at 10.50 local time and team up with Gary O’Donovan in the Premier Double - a straight final - at 2.10 pm.

All four Ireland internationals intend to compete in the New Zealand Rowing Championships, also on Lake Karapiro, from February 13th to 17th.

Irish rower Max Murphy has been based in New Zealand in recent months and, competing as a senior for Waikato, faces into three finals on Monday. Heat wins in the senior pair and four qualified him for those finals, while men’s senior eight is a straight final.

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