Record number of entries expected for Irish Indoor Championships
Rowing: World champions Paul O’Donovan and Sanita Puspure will compete in UL event
Paul O’Donovan celebrates winning gold in the Men’s Lightweight Sculls Final at the World Rowing Championships in Rotterdam in August 2016. Photograph: Herman Dingler/Inpho
If you want to see a cross-section of Irish rowing in 2019, the chance is fast approaching. The Irish Indoor Championships features world champions Paul O’Donovan and Sanita Puspure, a whole set of other internationals (it is a mandatory event for Ireland hopefuls), club rowers and determined young people out to push themselves to new heights.
The organiser of the event, Joe Cantillon, says the online entry for the event, in the University of Limerick on Saturday January 19th, suggests it will set a new record in terms of numbers. Along with entrants from a good spread of Irish clubs, there are some from the United States and Karachi in Pakistan.
The rise of indoor rowing as a sport in itself and as a fitness regimen is noticeable. The Crew Class group in Dublin, led by former world champion Niall O’Toole, will be well represented.
The following Saturday (January 26th) will see the first Dambuster Head at Blessington Lakes. The event is hosted by Carlow Rowing Club, and the actual course, from the Avon Rí to Blessington Sailing Club west of Blessington, could become familiar to many.
After a decade-long campaign, planning permission has been granted for a boathouse on this stretch. The process may continue as it is understood that there is an objection before An Bórd Pleanála.
The present course at Blessington, which is nearer to the town, has suffered severely from low water levels. When conditions were at their worst, the local club, Three Castles, only rowed 400 metres of that course as part of their training runs in case boats suffered damage from detritus sticking up from the bottom of the ESB-made lake. They used an area to the west of the bridge for the rest of the training.
If this is your time to catch up on reading, More Power by Chris Dodd and Hugh Matheson deserves consideration. It is the story of Jürgen Gröbler, the hugely-successful coach who has guided crews to medals in 12 Olympic Games. He is the self-effacing but determined presence who transformed British rowing. British rowing authorities have steered clear of the book, perhaps because the two journalists deal directly with his background in East Germany, with the drug and Stasi connections.
Rowing gets only a passing mention (and not a complimentary one) in Becoming by Michelle Obama. But since we’re on books, it’s a good one.