Sanita Puspure, Ireland’s sole rowing Olympian in London, has a real chance of continuing her upward trajectory by medalling at the European Championships, which begin in Seville today.
However, the 31-year-old will undergo a health check this morning before a decision will be made on whether she competes. “Her immune system has been a little up and down,” said Morten Espersen, the Ireland performance director, yesterday.
Puspure is the highest-ranking competitor in her heat of the single sculls, and with the top three progressing directly to the semi-final she could be just one step from the final by this afternoon – if she competes.
Ireland's other main hope is Claire Lambe, and her progression to the six-boat final could be even swifter. The Dubliner's heat of the lightweight single sculls features the silver medallist from last year's World Championships, Michaela Taupe-Traer of Austria and Anna Ioannou of Cyprus, last year's World Under-23 silver medallist. However, two scullers will go directly to the final, so Lambe can make her job much simpler if she nails a top-two place today.
Two men’s crews complete the Ireland team. Single sculler John Keohane is stepping up a few levels – and today he will race Germany’s Marcel Hacker, one of the top names in this discipline over the last decade. Two competitors go directly to the semi-final, but Keohane’s best hope may be to qualify from this evening’s repechage.
The repechage route may also be the best hope for Ireland's first crew in action today, the men's lightweight double scull of Justin Ryan and Niall Kenny (on the water at 8.42 Irish time). Espersen says he would be pleased if they can place in the top 12 of 22 by making the semi-finals.
The winning eight from last weekend’s Dublin Metropolitan Regatta take to the waters at the Olympic venue, Dorney Lake, this weekend in the (British) Metropolitan Regatta. The Gráinne Mhaol/NUIG crew are set to compete in the elite eights tomorrow. The Galway composite will also compete in the elite four – where they are drawn to face UCD in a heat tomorrow morning.
Ireland will have 13 athletes at this year’s World Junior Championships. The top two triallists, Bridget Jacques and Hilary Shinnick, will team up in a double scull.