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Sanita Puspure requires top three finish to claim Olympic spot

Irish rower goes in B Final at the World Championships on Sunday

Ireland’s Sanita Puspure will need to finish in the top three of Sunday’s B Final at the World Rowing Championship in France to qualify for the Olympic Games. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland’s Sanita Puspure will have a couple of nail-biting days in her bid to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games after she could only finish fifth in her semi-final at the World Rowing Championships here in France on Friday.

A place in the top nine qualifies the single scull for Rio, and if Puspure had finished in the top three at Aiguebelette she would be in the A Final and home free. But her challenge never ignited and she must now take a top three place in Sunday’s B Final.

Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan won the B Final of the lightweight pair. They sprinted into the lead coming up to halfway and were .15 of a second ahead of fast-finishing Spain at the finish, to finish seventh overall. The two hope to be part of a lightweight four at next May’s Olympic qualifier.

Denise Walsh took second in her C Final of the lightweight single (14th) and the Ireland double of Helen Hannigan and Lisa Dilleen won their D final. The women’s four finished fifth in their five-boat A Final.

All eyes will be on Ireland’s lightweight doubles on Saturday: fifth or better takes them to Rio.