Ellen Walshe & Danielle Hill In Action
Sligo’s Mona McSharry is through to the 100M Breastroke semi-final after posting the 9th fastest time in the heats. McSharry who was swimming in lane 5, swam 1:06.39 – just 0.1s off her own Irish Senior Record.
It was a great mature and composed performance from McSharry who had South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker on her inside. McSharry was fourth at the 50M mark with a time of 31.06 but clawed her way back swimming 35.33 in the final 50M. Shoenmaker set a new Olympic and African Record of 1:04.82 but it was great testament to McSharry who wasn’t phased and swam her own race.
The current University of Tennessee student who is a Junior World Championship gold medallist, will have real belief that if she can better her current Irish Senior Record, a Olympic Final is certainly on the cards.
Earlier in the session, Larne’s Danielle Hill her heat with a time of 1:00.86. With only the top 16 swimmers making it through to the next round, Hill settled for 25th place. It represents a two-place improvement on the 27th ranking Hill came into the competition with.
Four Time Olympian Holstein Bows Out
Four-time Olympian Heike Holstein, and 12-year old Irish-bred mare Sambuca performed a solid routine to finish the dressage Grand Prix Group D in Tokyo on a score of 68.432. Unfortunately, it was not quite enough to advance to the next round and she had to settle for 6th place. The top two riders in each group progressed to the final.
Speaking after their performance, Heike stated: “I was really happy with her, she went into the ring and really concentrated. We had a few little errors that were my fault, in the first medium trot I had her back a bit too much. I was really happy with the passage and the piaffe has improved a lot, she was really relaxed in the walk and the changes were good. I timed the warm-up just right, I practiced it yesterday at the same time and I had more time today so I did less with her before I went in. She wasn’t exhausted but wasn’t too fresh. I was happy with most of it.”
“I am really proud of her. When she was a little foal I never thought that we would get this far, it is a long road and lots of things can happen. In 2019 I finally thought, this might happen!”
The Irish equestrian athletes are wearing yellow ribbons in commemoration of the loss of a highly talented young Irish athlete, Tiggy Hancock, in June. Also decorating Heike’s lapel was a beautiful pin designed by Tiggy’s mother specifically for the event.
When asked about the ribbon and pin, Heike proudly mentioned while pointing at them: “Tiggy is at the Olympics in Tokyo and we are very proud to wear this for her.”
Irish Rowers Into The Semi Finals
The Irish pair of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley were first to race in the early hours of this morning, competing in the repechage for a place in the semi final. It was good news for Team Ireland, as Dukarska and Crowley raced hard against Greece, the United States and China — with three to progress to the semi final. It became obvious that China would not progress, as the other three crews, including Ireland, battled it out for the top three spots.
The Irish Pair finished third, behind Greece and USA, with just four seconds separating the three crews. Greece crossed over first in a time of 7:28.00, the USA followed in 7:29.87 with Ireland just behind them in 7:31.99. It will be delight for Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley as they continue their Olympic journey and will race in the semi final. They had missed automatic qualification by just 0.43s in their heat.
Following the Pair in the next race for Team Ireland was Irish Lightweight Double Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen. The pressure was on to see if they could make it a clean sweep for all of Team Ireland’s rowers into the semi-finals.
It was always going to be tough ask for the young crew but they pulled it out of the bag in brilliant fashion.
Racing in the repechage against, Switzerland, Russia, Austria, Vietnam and Guatemala, the Irish double seized their opportunity and left everything on the water. The Irish, Swiss and Russians detached themselves from the rest of the field, finishing in incredibly quick succession. Switzerland over the line first in 7:22.02, the Russians in 7:22.72 and the Irish in 7:23.46. The next closest time was 7:42.31 with Austria in fourth. A great day for Cremen and Casey getting themselves into the semi-final where you can be sure they will put everything on the line.
The big rowing race of the day was Sanita Puspure, the Irish single sculler tipped to medal at this Olympic Games. Puspure competed in style, with over half a length on the American, Kara Kohler – a world bronze medallist. The two-time World and European champion won the quarter-final in a time of 7:46.08 – eight seconds ahead of her nearest rival.
Getting that distance on Kohler is impressive, as she is certainly one of the top athletes in the event overall, demonstrating the form that Puspure is in. Jiang of China finished two seconds behind Puspure in third place. Puspure progresses to the semi final, with two wins under her belt. It is clear, she is there to impress, grabbing the opportunity with both hands, to be at the top.
Tomorrow’s regatta has been cancelled due to an expected typhoon in Tokyo, with the racing set to continue on Day Four (Tuesday, July 27th). The Lightweight Double and the Pair will compete in their semi-finals, aiming for a top three finish in their respective races. Good news for Team Ireland which should give their rowers an extra days rest.
Annalise Murphy & Meg Ryan Underway
Elsewhere, Annalise Murphy, Rio silver medalist, took to the water to compete in sailing in the Laser Radial event. She finished 35 of 44 in Race One, with low wind speeds on the course. Race two was up shortly after, where she put in a strong performance, finishing 12th in slightly stronger winds. Murphy will be in action again tomorrow for race 3 and 4 of the series, where she will be looking to move up on the rankings.
In sailing, it’s a series of 10 races, so Murphy has the opportunity to build on her performances and put herself in contention. At present she sits in 22nd position, and will be looking to close down the lead.
12th in race 2 after a very tricky day of sailing in 🇯🇵- lots of mixed results from all the sailors today so still the entire week to see it play out – sailing explainer – the sailor likely to be in the lead came 6th in the first race and 5th in the second – consistency will be🔑— Annalise Murphy (@Annalise_Murphy) July 25, 2021
Irish Gymnast, Meg Ryan began her Olympic competition at 3.55am this morning, becoming Ireland’s second female athlete to compete at the Olympic Games. Having just finished her leaving certificate, the young athlete took to the Tokyo stage. Ryan is competing in the All-Around, with an overall score today of 47.199. The breakdown was: 10.466 on the balance beam, 12.000 on the floor, 13.200 on the vault and 11.533 on the uneven bars. There are three subdivisions still to compete, where we will then find out if Ryan will progress.
Stay Tuned Later Today For The Following
13:15 Equestrian – Heike Holstein – Dressage
11:07am Swimming – Danielle Hill – 100m Backstroke, Heat
11:45am Swimming – Mona McSharry – 100m Breastroke, Heat