Gold medal winner Sanita rows in with Cork Person of the Month award
Rebel county rewards Lativian-born rower for her world beating heroics
World champion rower, Ballincollig resident Sanita Puspure been afforded one of her adopted county's most prestigious honours after being unveiled as the Cork Person of the Month for November.
The 36-year-old Latvian-born athlete, who moved to Ireland 12-years ago, blitzed a world class field scooping gold in the women's single scull at this year's world championships in Bulgaria - winning the final by more than four lengths.
An accomplished junior rower in her homeland, Sanita moved to Ireland in 2006 in search of a better life and to further her sporting career, gaining full Irish nationality in 2011.
Through sheer hard work and determination, she has risen up the ranks of the sports elite, representing Ireland at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and narrowly missing out on a medal at three consecutive World Championships.
It was little wonder then that as the Irish tricolour was raised and the first stains of Amhrán na BhFiann echoed around the rowing complex at Plovdiv last September she could not help but get emotional, particularly as her husband, Kaspars, and children Patrick and Daniela were on hand to witness the occasion.
She admitted taking inspiration after seeing Cork brothers Gary and Paul O'Donovan, who were the joint winners of the 2016 Cork Person(s) of the Year Award, row to gold in Bulgaria.
"I found it very emotional seeing the boys win gold. I wanted the anthem playing for me as well," she admitted.
"It was amazing, the first time an anthem had been played for me, ever, so I was absolutely ecstatic. I can't believe it's happened. I'm really going to cherish that moment," she said at the time.
After the ceremony Kaspars took to social media to express his pride. "This woman has been hit hard a lot of times, yet every time she got up and kept fighting. Anyone who is thinking about giving up on their dream just look at this woman and believe that nothing is impossible," he wrote.
Accepting the Cork Person of he Month Award, Sanita said she was thrilled all of the hard work over the years and in the lead up to the world championships had paid off.
"We had lots of training to do. Lots of training camps and lots of time away from my family," she said.
Awards organiser, Mallow-native Manus O'Callaghan said the award was thoroughly deserved had topped off what has been a phenomenal year for Sanita.
"Her drive and determination to succeed is incredible and she has made a gigantic contribution to Ireland's standing in the world rowing scene. Sanita is most definitely one to watch at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," said Mr O'Callaghan.
"Here in Cork, we are so excited to see what lies ahead for her and we look forward to supporting her every step of the way."
Sanita Puspure's name will now go forward for possible selection as the 2018 Cork Person of the Year, the winner of which will be announced during a gala lunch reception at the Rochestown Park Hotel next January.