The World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv Bulgaria, came to a close after an incredible eight days of rowing for Rowing Ireland. Amongst the squad sent were seven women in four crews, who enjoyed incredible success to cement Ireland’s status as one of the world’s leading rowing nations.
Sanita Puspure dominated a top-class field in the women’s single sculls final to win her first ever medal at the World Championships – and it was gold! Victory was never in doubt as a determined Puspure lead the race from start to finish and cantered over the line five seconds faster than her nearest rival and previous world champion, Jeannine Gmelin.
Puspure had opted not to compete at the European Championships in Glasgow last month to focus on the World Championships. Her high-class form at this regatta has proven that decision to be vindicated as she has swept away the field in all her races.
The two-time Olympian was a silver medallist at both the 2018 Rowing World Cup I and III events this year and her victory today seals the biggest win of her rowing career to date. Puspure has overcome disappointment of previous years to finally cement herself as the best single-sculler in the world.
‘I was emotional watching the boys winning yesterday. I wanted the anthem played for me as well’ – Sanita Puspure reacts to her gold medal win at the Rowing World Championships. #RTESPort pic.twitter.com/DhSpprNuMI
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) September 16, 2018
There was more success for Team Ireland as Emily Hegarty and Aifric Keogh finished sixth in the final of the women’s pair. The pair made history as they qualified for the A-final after winning their semi-final. This was the first time both Keogh and Hegarty had competed in an A-final at the World Championships and were up against vastly more experienced crews. A sixth-place finish with an overall time of 7:15.70 is an impressive achievement for a crew who have their sights firmly set on Tokyo 2020.
It was a ‘bittersweet’ experience for Emily Hegarty and Aifric Keogh, who took part in their first world final as a pair. Their sights are set firmly on Tokyo 2020. #RTESport pic.twitter.com/p9ApCcw0iP
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) September 15, 2018
Aoife Casey and Denise Walsh competed in the C-final after winning their semi-final on Thursday. The newly formed double once against showed great promise as they won the C-final by over a length after a brilliant final quarter of the race. This is a relatively new crew who raced together for the first time at European Championships last month. In typical Skibbereen fashion, the double showed their skill as they moved up the field from fourth and finished strong to cross the line in first with a time of 7:05.77. The double finished ahead of Austria in second and Germany third. This result earned Casey and Walsh a fantastic 13th place finish at their first World Championships together.
Competing in the C-final of the women’s double sculls, Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska sprinted to victory in a time of 6:54.55, three seconds faster than Chile who finished second. The double dominated from start to finish as they lead the whole way through the race. The Killorglin Rowing Club double produced their best race of the championship and secured an impressive 13th place finish overall.
Although it’s not the results we wanted&worked so hard for, I’m still smiling! Proud to finish top 13 at worlds & be part of such a great team!Today was our best race of championship with 6:54 finish 💪🏼Onwards & upwards from here tho! #GoTeamIreland 🇮🇪
— Monika Dukarska (@MDukarska) September 16, 2018
A remarkable World Championships for Rowing Ireland with the Olympics just around the corner. With the continued hard-work and dedication shown by the athletes and coaches, Ireland will certainly be a force to be reckoned with.