Wednesday 7 December 2016

O'Donovan a hero again as he strikes gold in Rotterdam

Published 28/08/2016 | 02:30

TOUGH: Irish rower Paul O’Donovan struck gold in Rotterdam yesterday to add to the Olympic silver medal he won in Rio with his brother Gary. Locals in his native Skibbereen are preparing a party for the world champion. Photos: Herman Dingler/Sportsfile
TOUGH: Irish rower Paul O’Donovan struck gold in Rotterdam yesterday to add to the Olympic silver medal he won in Rio with his brother Gary. Locals in his native Skibbereen are preparing a party for the world champion. Photos: Herman Dingler/Sportsfile

Irish rower Paul O'Donovan has sensationally added a 2016 World Championship title to his Olympic silver medal from Rio.

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The young star (22) ensured that his 'welcome home' party in Cork tonight will now be a week-long celebration.

Ireland's Paul O'Donovan celebrates after winning the Lightweight Mens Single Sculls Final at the 2016 World Rowing Championships at the Willem-Alexanderbaan Rowing Venue in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Herman Dingler/Sportsfile
Ireland's Paul O'Donovan celebrates after winning the Lightweight Mens Single Sculls Final at the 2016 World Rowing Championships at the Willem-Alexanderbaan Rowing Venue in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Herman Dingler/Sportsfile

The Skibbereen rower left his rivals, including previous world champions, trailing in his wake as he took gold in the Netherlands yesterday with an incredible display of power, endurance and speed.

Paul won with a time of 7:32.84 in the lightweight men's sculls as he was cheered on by his Olympic medal-winning brother, Gary (23), and parents, Teddy and Trish, who had spent the week supporting him in Rotterdam.

The Irish student had almost an entire boat length to spare over his Hungarian rival, Peter Galambos, in second place. Paul delivered the fastest heat, quarter-final, semi-final and then final in the Rotterdam competition.

Read more: 'Put an extension on Skibbereen' - World champion Paul O'Donovan planning an epic homecoming

Read more: Irish rowing sensation Paul O'Donovan adds World GOLD to Olympic silver

He will fly back to Cork Airport at 9.30pm tonight with Gary and other Irish rowers before heading to Skibbereen for the official homecoming party at 1pm on Monday.

The party - organised by Skibbereen Rowing Club - will culminate in an open-top bus tour around the West Cork town at 7pm.

People from their home village of Lisheen have promised that celebratory bonfires will be lit around every crossroads in Skibbereen. Between 10,000 and 20,000 people are now expected to throng Skibbereen to welcome the brothers - and now the town's new world champion.

Paul's mother admitted she was quietly confident her son would still have enough in his tank to win a medal in Rotterdam. "It's absolutely unbelievable - we're over the moon," she said. "To be heading back to Skibbereen with two Olympic medals and now a world championship title is beyond our wildest dreams. He is as tough as nails."

Sunday Independent

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