O'Donovan crashes out on single sculls debut
Olympic silver medallist Gary O’Donovan headlined the European Championships in Switzerland for all the wrong reasons yesterday when he missed qualification for the semi-finals.
Racing for the first time at international level in the single scull, O’Donovan never looked in contention in his opening heat, but got a second chance in the afternoon’s repechages.
Once again he trailed the field though, and expectations that he might produce a characteristic strong second half came to naught as he could only manage fourth place on the line.
Ask Jarl Tjoem of Norway qualified first, ahead of Enes Yenipazarli of Turkey and Serbia’s Milos Stanojevic, while O’Donovan will now contest today’s C final for places 13-18.
But there was better news for world champion Sanita Puspure in the women’s single sculls, where she lined up alongside Great Britain’s Vicky Thornley.
Puspure flew straight off the start to lead Thornley and continued to scull the fastest splits of the field right down the course.
Puspure and Thornley qualified direct for today’s semi-finals where the Old Collegian sculler will line up alongside Mirka Knapkova, the 2012 Olympic champion from the Czech Republic.
In the lightweight men’s double sculls Fintan and Jacob McCarthy caused a stir when they came right back into a qualifying position after trailing the field for much of the race.
And in the men’s double sculls Phil Doyle and Ronan Byrne exceeded pre-race expectations and led the six-boat field from start to finish.
Dominic Casey’s new lightweight women’s double of Denise Walsh and Lydia Heaphy also had a promising start to their international season by placing third in their heat and moving direct to the semi-finals.