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'She's done rowing in Ireland proud and she can hold her head high knowing what she's done'

Rowing team chief Fearghal O’Callaghan reflected on a ‘bittersweet’ day.

SANITA PUSPURE ‘CAN hold her head high’ and will have the support of her rowing teammates, in the wake of today’s Olympic disappointment. 

The Irish rower failed to qualify for the women’s single sculls final, finishing in fifth place and will now compete in the B final. 

“It’s just terrible,” rowing team manager Fearghal O’Callaghan told RTE, after Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy secured an historic gold. “I have tears of joy for the boys and tears of sadness for Sanita.

“It’s real bittersweet with one race coming after the other. I can’t imagine how she feels myself, I feel devastated for her.” 

Puspure came into the Games as one of Ireland’s plausible medal hopes but at 39 her Olympic dream now seem to have evaporated, despite a stellar career.

“You know, Sanita was flying the flag for Irish rowing when nobody else was,” said O’Callaghan. “She’s been a credit to her country, she’s a two-time world champion and we should never forget that. She’s a proud mother, a proud wife and she has a lovely family at home that she represents really, really well. 

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“And I’m sure at this stage she can’t wait to get home and be with her family. I feel gutted for her but she’s done rowing in Ireland proud and she can hold her head high knowing what she’s done. 

“And you know she’s inspired. We’ve seen what’s going on at home — young boys and young girls all over the country — inspired to take up rowing and other sports.

“We came here with the biggest team we’ve ever had and while Sanita hasn’t got the result she would have liked, she’s been the spearhead along with Paul over the past few years, she’s been the one that’s spearheaded this when no one else was doing it.”

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