World champion rower Puspure is set for another big year

World champion rower Puspure is set for another big year
Sanita Puspure with the pupils of Scoil Mhuire in Ballincollig. Picture: Howard Crowdy

BALLINCOLLIG rower Sanita Puspure is a woman that is very much at the top of her game.

The world rowing champion in the women’s singles sculls event was announced as the March 2019 winner of the Talbot Collection Cork Community, Business and Sports Awards.

The awards scheme is sponsored by Talbot Collection Cork along with award sponsors AIB Midleton & Ballincollig and media partners RedFM.

There was no doubt that the whole of Ireland was thrilled for Sanita when she won gold for Ireland at the World Rowing Championships last September.

After suffering years of heartbreak and missing out on medals at major championships, this was a breakthrough moment for Puspure.

For young people in Ballincollig, but also in Cork and right across Ireland, she is an excellent role model for continuing to work hard and being persistent in reaching your goals.

Sanita Puspure recently won a Talbot Collection Cork Community, Business and Sports awards: Picture: Gerard Bonus
Sanita Puspure recently won a Talbot Collection Cork Community, Business and Sports awards: Picture: Gerard Bonus

Sanita displayed excellent form throughout her 2018 World Rowing Championships campaign, qualifying for both the semi-finals and final with the fastest time across her category. She powered ahead from the outset of her finals race to dominate throughout and win.

Puspure took up rowing again in Dublin when she first moved to Ireland, as a means to get fit again after having children. She later moved to Cork to train at the National Rowing Centre and row more competitively.

She began representing Ireland in World Cup events in 2010 after gaining Irish citizenship, rowing in the single scull event for the first time at a World Cup regatta in 2012, finishing fifth.

Sanita was Ireland’s only rowing competitor at the London Olympic Games and the first female single sculler to represent Ireland in the Olympics since 1980. She placed first in the C Final at the London Olympics, ranking 13th overall.

She placed fourth at the 2014 World Championships and won bronze at the European Championships in 2014 and 2016.

In 2016 she won bronze at World Cup I and placed 13th at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the women’s heavyweight single sculls.

Sanita narrowly missed out on a medal at the 2017 World Championships, placing fourth.

2018 got off to a good start for Sanita with a win at the Irish Indoor Rowing Championships however she spent large portions of the following two months doing land-based training due to injury.

A training camp trip to Italy showed a return to form for the open-weight rower in April, when she won two medals at the Paolo d’Aloja Memorial Regatta in Piediluco – silver in the women’s single sculls and bronze in the women’s double sculls on a trial outing with team mate Monika Dukarska.

In May 2018, Sanita put in a phenomenal performance at World Rowing Cup I in Serbia, winning silver in the women’s single sculls behind reigning World Champion Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland, a performance which she replicated at World Cup III, in Lucerne, but with a tighter margin (less than one second) between the Irish sculler and the Swiss World Champion.

Sanita moved to Ireland from Latvia in 2006 and made the move to live in Ballincollig subsequently, in order to be near the facilities of National Rowing Centre out in Farran. This year promises to be another big year for Puspure. A lot of her focus this year will be on ensuring qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The qualifiers for that will be on during the world championships at the end of August.

Puspure will be fully focused on that and continuing the excellent work of recent months.

She will as always have the support of her husband Kaspars and children Patrick and Daniella, who have been with her every step of the way on this journey.

She also has a strong team around her at training with a number of high-quality Irish rowers alongside her that know what it takes and want to perform at the elite level.

“If I put the winning aside and just look at the training, it has been incredibly hard. I have never trained as hard in my life before. I have seen the bar going higher and higher over the years. We don’t want to settle for like just making up the numbers. We want to be better than that.”

Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

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