Thursday 22 February 2018

O'Donovan and Walsh one win from gold


Paul O’Donovan. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Paul O’Donovan. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Robert Treharne Jones

Olympic silver medallist Paul O'Donovan and European silver medallist Denise Walsh remained on track for medals at the World Championships in Florida yesterday.

Both dominated their respective semi-finals of the lightweight single sculls yesterday and will start as favourites in today's finals.

In a change for his established routine, O'Donovan went off hard after Switzerland's Michael Schmid established the early lead.

The two scullers moved away from the field with only Hungary's Peter Galambos able to maintain the pace.

As the Hungarian slipped back Poland's Artur Mikolajczewski took over third, but O'Donovan went for the burn with 300m to go and cruised past Schmid, rating 39 and leading by open water on the line ahead of Switzerland, with Brazil's Uncas Batista third.

Mexico's Kenia Lechuga Alanis was the early leader in Walsh's semi-final but the Skibbereen sculler came through to take the lead after 500m and never looked back.

Predictably, it was Sweden's Emma Fredh and Mary Jones of the USA who provided Walsh's main competition but, despite a late push from the American, Walsh crossed the line 0.65 seconds clear of Jones.

"Today was a big day and they both got through, so it's another rung on the ladder and we'll have to see what happens," said Ireland team manager Susan Dunlea.

Their success sets up the mouth-watering prospect of a double Irish win in lightweight singles for the first time since 2001 when Sam Lynch and Sinead Jennings both won gold in Lucerne.

"Sixteen years is a long time to recreate that scene. Fingers crossed," added Dunlea.

Also in action today will be Sanita Puspure in the semi-finals of the women's single sculls, while Patrick Boomer and Fionnan McQuillan-Tolan contest the 'C' final of men's pairs.

Irish Independent

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