Thursday 22 February 2018

Paul O'Donovan retains lightweight title while Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll also claim gold

Sean McGoldrick

Ireland’s Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll from Skibbereen Rowing Club have struck gold at the World Rowing Championship in the searing Florida heat.

The pair who were unbeaten all season justified their tag of favourites by totally dominating the final.

Working harder than any of the other crews as evident as their stroke rate of 44, they were in second place at the 500m. But they then forged into the lead and had clear water for the rest of the race as they eased their way to gold head of Italy and Brazil.

Olympic silver medallist Paul O’Donovan also retained his World lightweight single sculls title in Florida.

The Skibbereen sculler completely dominated his rivals in the 2000m long final which took place immediate after his club colleagues, Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll had struck gold in the lightweight doubles.

Watched by a sizeable contingent of Irish fans, O’Donovan hit top form - so much so that for much of the second half of the race he was more than a length clear and cruised home to claim back to back world titles in 6.48.87 ahead of New Zealand and Switzerland.

Commenting on his win O'Donovan said: “Very happy to be here. It was a really good race today. Bit strange without my brother, but I just did the same thing as I would do in the double. I’m just very happy.”

There was no joy, however, for the other Skibbereen sculler Denise Walsh who finished a distant sixth in the women’s lightweight single sculls finals as South African Kirsten McCann claimed gold.

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