Sanita Puspure takes on Olympic champion Mirka Knapkova

Ireland’s Olympian faces a stiff test on her return to championship action in Belgrade today

Ireland’s Sanita Puspure returns to championship action in Belgrade today.

Ireland’s Sanita Puspure returns to championship action in Belgrade today.

 
Olympic Games

Puspure finished 13th in the women’s single sculls in London, but today will take on the Olympic champion, Mirka Knapkova, in her heat at the European Championships in Belgrade in Serbia. Two crews from five will go directly through to the A/B semi-finals with the rest competing in repechages later in the day.

Puspure’s one international event last year was, ironically, the European Championships in Seville, where Ireland struggled and she pulled out ill. However, she will be joined this year by two new women’s crews, both in Olympic classes, and lightweight single sculler Paul O’Donovan, a medallist at last year’s World Under-23 Championships. All four crews took medals at the Memorial Paolo d’Aloja regatta in Italy last month.

The women’s double sculls of Eimear Moran and Monika Dukarska today take on a five-boat heat from which two boats will progress to the A Final. The pair of Lisa Dilleen and Leonora Kennedy look set for a repechage as they must win their tough-looking heat to progress directly to the final.

O’Donovan is the first into action at 8.25am (Irish time). He can progress directly to the A/B Semi-Finals if he is in the first two home in his heat.

Last weekend’s European Junior Regatta at Hazewinkel was useful, though probably not in the way some had hoped. The generally bigger continental crews were too strong for the Irish for the most part. The women’s double of Eimear Lambe and Jasmine English and the men’s double of Conor Carmody and David O’Malley did best, finishing 12th and 13th respectively.

The Irish entry for Metropolitan Regatta at Dorney Lake this weekend has extraordinary volume and depth. In one of heats of the women’s elite four tomorrow, three of the four boats (Trinity, UCD and a composite) are Irish crews. The men’s senior eights features Gráinne Mhaol/NUIG.

A strong Irish women’s composite is entered in the women’s senior eights. John Keohane, Dave Neale and Aaron Bolger of Carlow are all entered in the men’s senior single sculls.

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