IRELAND’S Sanita Puspure powered to a gold medal victory at the European Rowing Championships in Lucerne.
The Ballincollig athlete and reigning world champion stormed into an early lead and dominated for three-quarters of the single sculls final, holding off the challenge of local hero (and title holder) Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland.
In winning, Sanita set a new European record of 7:23.18, beating Jeannine by .86 of a second and Miroslava Topinková of the Czech Republic in bronze.
Sanita wasn’t first off the line, but shortly afterwards she was moving the quickest and built up the pace and took the lead.
She continued to lead as they reached the halfway point and the three-quarter mark, and held off the late challenges to win a fantastic gold.
“The plan was to go off really hard at the start and I was really having to hang off the blades as Jeannine was coming and the Swiss crowd was really loud,” said Sanita.
“It was only in the last five strokes that I thought I was going to be able to win. I haven’t been feeling the best shape so I’m delighted with this win.”
There were other positive results for the Rowing Ireland, with Skibbereen’s Gary O’Donovan finishing fourth in the C LM1x final, Skibbereen’s Denise Walsh and Lydia Heaphy finishing sixth in the LW2x B final; UCC’s Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle finishing fourth in the M2x B final, and Skibbereen’s Jake and Fintan McCarthy finishing a fabulous fifth in the LW2x A final.
It all promises great things for Irish rowing this summer, building to the Olympics.