SANITA PUSPURE is a woman that very much at the elite level in the world of rowing at the present moment.
The Latvian-born Irish rower, now residing in Ballincollig, proved again the excellent level that she is at in 2019.
Therefore it was of little surprise that she was chosen as the Outstanding Achievement winner at the latest annual edition of The Echo Women In Sport Awards, at the gala ceremony in the Cork Airport Hotel.
The 38-year-old was to secure her second successive World Championship gold medal in the single sculls.
Olympic qualification was actually secured in the semi-final when she came from behind with a powerful surge to win by more than four seconds in a field that included former world champion Emma Twigg of New Zealand.
In the final, Puspure, a double European Champion, came from behind to overtake Olympic silver medallist, Vicky Thornley of Britain, before chasing down Twigg in the last 500 metres to secure gold with a clear-water win.
Her win was all the more impressive when you take into account that she had returned to her native Latvia during the summer to be with sister Inese in the final stages of her battle with cancer.
Reflecting on the events over the past 12 months in her sporting career, Puspure said:
“Ten years ago if I had known that (being a world champion for the second year), I would have been like ‘seriously me?’
“When you finish fourth a couple of times you want to get to the podium, when you get on the podium you don’t want to get off it.
“Some people may know I have unfinished business with the Olympics, so hopefully this can go my way this time.”
Attention for Puspure now will turn Tokyo 2020, where the whole of Cork and Ireland will eagerly looking forward to getting behind her and watching her displays later on in the summer.
Puspure, who moved here in 2006, after years of frustration now appears to have cracked the winning code.
Her story is one of persistence and perseverance. After finishing fourth at the World Championships on two occasions, Puspure now has two gold medals in her pocket.
Along with the rest of the nation, she will hope the road which takes her to Tokyo and the Olympic Games will be another successful one later this summer.
If she does get an Olympic medal, Puspure will most certainly deserve it.
For the people of Cork, perhaps we should appreciate the fact that someone at the very top world level in their chosen sport is living on our doorstep.