CORK'S Olympic rowing champion Paul O'Donovan has won gold in a record breaking time at World Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland this afternoon.
It was his first international appearance since becoming Olympic champion with his doubles partner Fintan McCarthy in Tokyo last year.
The Skibbereen rower, currently studying and racing for University College Cork, stormed through his heat, winning by 7 seconds and then eased through his semi-final with the minimum of fuss.
But the Skibbereen man saved his best until last when winning the final in a time of 6:47.15 — a new World Cup record.
Rowing Ireland’s CEO, Michelle Carpenter, said: "Congratulations to Paul on his gold medal today, and for breaking a World Cup record.
"We were delighted to see the result, as thousands of young rowers competed in the sport for the first time today in the 1k Classic, at the National Rowing Centre, where our high performance athletes are based."
It's phenomenal to see the stars of the future, competing and enjoying our sport today.
Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni, said: "We are delighted with Paul’s performance, and to see him coming away from World Cup III with the gold medal.
"After good racing here, and in Poznan, we look forward to Europeans and the World Championships in the coming months.
"Huge time and effort is put into these events, so thank you to all athletes, coaches and support staff for contributing to our continued success."