Rowing: Sanita Puspure picks up where she left off in Italy

Puspure takes the A Final at the Memorial Paolo d’Aloja regatta in Piediluco

Sanita Puspure picked up where she left off in Italy. Photograph: Detlev Seyb/Inpho

Sanita Puspure picked up where she left off in Italy. Photograph: Detlev Seyb/Inpho

 

Ireland’s world champion in the single sculls, Sanita Puspure, took up where she left off at an early-season regatta in Italy.

Puspure won the A Final on Saturday at the Memorial Paolo d’Aloja in Piediluco. As it had been in Plovdiv in Bulgaria last year, the margin was convincing, with Diana Dymchenko of the Ukraine her nearest challenger.

The men’s double of Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne and the lightweight double of Jake and Fintan McCarthy both took bronze. The heavyweights, who finished ninth in Plovdiv, were outstanding in the recent trials, despite having very little time together in recent months - Doyle has been based in Belfast and Byrne in Cork.

The race was won by the Romanian crew which placed sixth in Bulgaria, while Ireland finished one place ahead of The Netherlands, the seventh-placed crew last year.

The McCarthy twins had even tougher opposition in the lightweight doubles final. Italy and Belgium, who took silver and bronze behind the O’Donovan brothers last year, raced into the top two places with the Irishmen just behind.

The McCarthy twins have had to live in the shadow of Paul and Gary O’Donovan, but they will get their chance to shine at the European Championships at the end of next month. Medical student Paul O’Donovan looks set to miss the event because of exams and Gary, who is recovering from injury, may go in the lightweight single.

Two Ireland women’s pairs took fifth and seventh, while a new lightweight double of Lydia Heaphy and Cliodna Nolan were sixth.

Meanwhile in Ireland racing was cancelled at the Irish Universities and Schools’ Championships at Lough Rinn on Saturday.

High winds and choppy waters were causing real difficulties for rowers, but over two hours of the programme, including some finals, had been held before the event was called off. A number of young rowers had fallen in and even experienced contenders had taken on water.

The Lough Rinn Grand League Regatta, set for Sunday, has also been cancelled. The organisers had originally told clubs that they would hold a curtailed event, but changed their decision after considering the forecast of a strong, gusting wind combined with rain and low temperatures.

Memorial Paolo d’Aloja, Piediluco, Italy, Saturday Finals (Irish results; selected)

Men

Double - A Final: 3 P Doyle, R Byrne 6:33.90.

Lightweight Double Sculls - A Final: 3 F McCarthy, J McCarthy 6:38.43.

Women

Pair - A Final: 5 A Keogh, M Dukarska 7:33.3; 7 A Crowley, E Hegarty 7:42.36. B Final: 3 C Feerick, E Lambe 7:45.41.

Lightweight Double - A Final: 6 C Nolan, L Heaphy 7:48.91.

Single - A Final: 1 S Puspure 7:58.89.

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