It was another terrific day for Ireland at the World Cup Regatta in Lucerne. Paul and Gary O'Donovan won gold, while Sanita Puspure took silver in a thrilling finish.
The O’Donovan brothers looked the pick of the crews in the A Final of the lightweight double sculls, but Denmark and Belgium would not let them win without a fight. All three crews had good starts, and while Ireland took over and led from 800 metres, Belgium pressed up on them with the line in sight.
The O’Donovans called on their good finishing speed and won by 0.8 seconds. Denmark were just over three seconds behind Belgium.
“It was a pretty good race, Denmark took over for a while but then we swapped,” Gary O’Donovan said. “We managed to throw ourselves over the finish line in first.”
The closing stages of the women’s single sculls were even more exciting. Puspure had a good start, but world champion Jeannine Gmelin of host country Switzerland made what looked a decisive move before halfway and led in the final 200m.
Behind her, Puspure was second, but coming under intense pressure from Carling Zeeman of Canada. The Ireland sculler called on her estimable finishing speed, pushing right up on Gmelin, who maintained her lead on the line - but by under a quarter of a second. She screamed in relief at her victory.
“I always enjoy racing here,” Puspure said. “I’m not sure if I’ll do the Europeans [European Championships], I might just focus on the World Rowing Championships.”
The men’s pair of Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan took third in their B Final, ninth overall. This was major progress in the heavyweight pair for the world lightweight champions. The women’s double of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley also took third in their B Final.
World Cup Regatta, Lucerne, Day Three (Selected Results; Irish interest):
Men Pair - B Final (Places 7 to 12): 1 Spain Two 6:40.42; 3 Ireland (M O'Donovan, S O'Driscoll) 6:43.27.
Lightweight Double Sculls - A Final: 1 Ireland (G O'Donovan, P O'Donovan) 6:28.50, 2 Belgium 6:29.30, 3 Denmark 6:32.39.
Pair - B Final: 1 Spain 7:25.23; 4 Ireland (A Keogh, T Hanlon) 7:32.46.
Double - B Final: 1 Czech Republic 7:05.30; 3 Ireland (M Dukarska, A Crowley) 7:06.92.
Single - A Final: 1 Switzerland (J Gmelin) 7:35.94, Ireland (S Puspure) 7:36.17, 3 Canada (C Zeeman) 7:37.03