World champions! O'Donovan brothers win rowing gold for Ireland

The Skibbereen duo were brilliant winners in the men’s lightweight double sculls.

Paul and Gary O'Donovan celebrate with their gold medals Detlev Seyb / INPHO Detlev Seyb / INPHO / INPHO

IRELAND’S GARY AND Paul O’Donovan are world champions.

The Skibbereen duo reproduced the best of their Olympic form to win the men’s lightweight double sculls at the World Championship Regatta in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

It is the first time that an Irish boat has ever won world championship gold in an Olympic event.

The O’Donovans rowed an almost perfect race, positioning themselves in second place at the half-way mark, just a second behind the Italian crew who went off strongly to set the early pace.

They pulled clear of Stefano Oppo and Pietro Ruta to lead heading into the final 500 metres, and from that point on, the result was never in doubt.

Backed by a tailwind as they rowed from lane six, the O’Donovans clocked a blistering time that was within two seconds of the world best time which has stood since 2014.

They looked to be easing up as they won comfortably in 6:06.81, with Italy second in 6:08.21. Bronze went to Belgium’s Tim Brys and Niels van Zandweghe in 6:11.25. 

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