DOUBLE World Champion and now, DOUBLE European Champion.
Sanita Puspure has once again reminded everyone just how elite she is with a powerful and dominant performance in the Women’s Single Scull final in Poznan.
In what was billed to be the closest final in recent years, Puspure blew away the high-class field to retain her European Champion status. After taking the lead in a hotly contested 1000m, Puspure showed no signs of slowing down as she pulled away from the field stroke after stroke.
Puspure crossed the finish line first in a time of 07:36.040 and secured a clear-water win over two seconds faster than her nearest rival, Magdalena Lobnig.
Coming into the final, the Champion finished second in her heat on Friday and second in the semi-finals on Saturday. Up against the likes of Jeannine Gmelin, Pia Greiten, Magdalena Lobnig and Anneta Kyridou, the final was expected to be a much closer contest. Yet again, Puspure has proved she is special.
Puspure claimed her first ever European Championship crown at last year’s championships in Lucerne and now is a double European Championship and World Championship winner having claimed gold at the 2018 and 2019 Worlds.
Speaking to World Rowing, Puspure said, “It was very fast. I just kept my head down and focused on my race. I executed it the best I could, but those girls are fast!”
The young and new Women’s Four crew of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh bagged bronze in their A final crossing the line in a time of 06:41.210, under a second slower than the Italian crew of Aisha Rocek, Kiri Tontodonati, Alessandra Patelli and Chiara Ondoli in second place. The Irish crew were neck and neck with their Italian rivals from start to finish but were just pipped at the line for that silver medal. The race was won by the Netherlands in a dominant performance.
The Women’s Four crew finished second in their heat on Friday, two seconds behind the eventual champions, the Netherlands. They qualified for the final through the repechage where they comfortably finished first.
“This is our first A final as a crew, our first big event as a crew,” said Keogh.
“We knew there were some big names in this event. We had some steering difficulties off the start, but we managed to get it back together.”
The Women’s Pair of Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty finished fifth in their A final, while Lydia Heaphy won her Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls B final for an overall rank of seventh, and Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey came in second in their Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls B final for eighth overall.
“Winning four medals, one gold and three bronze, is a brilliant accomplishment for Irish Rowing this weekend. Out of our seven crews entered, five reached the A final in their category, and two achieved excellent results in the B finals,” said Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni.
“These results have continued our success this year at U23 and Junior European Championships. We now have nine medals from three competitions at three different levels.
“We are not considered the underdog anymore, and we all need to do better and push the bar higher to keep our current level of international competitiveness.”