Rising stars to fly the flag
IRELAND may have sent only two scullers to this year's World Junior Championships, but Holly Nixon and Paul O'Donovan are both special talents.
And, with all eyes on the Eton Dorney course near Windsor -- the venue for next year's Olympics regatta -- it's not beyond reason to say that either could make the weekend's finals.
O'Donovan (Skibbereen) and Nixon (from Portora) have won the junior events at the Irish National Championships for the last two years and are now deemed fit to challenge the world's best in the U-18 group.
Not that the two are without international experience -- both have won several medals at the Coupe de la Jeunesse, the annual European event for second strong junior crews.
"We're now trying to break the mould that has meant Irish scullers have seen the nationals as the pinnacle of their achievement," said Ireland junior coach Derek Holland.
Both Irish scullers will begin their challenge in today's heats, in which O'Donovan will face another 24 competitors in the men's singles -- the largest class at the regatta.
More than 500 rowers from 48 nations are competing, with Germany favourites to top the medals table.