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Back-to-back champion Sanita Puspure one of five Irish up for prestigious World Rowing Awards

New crew of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy and fellow Corkman Ronan Byrne are also nominated.

THREE IRISH CREWS have been shortlisted for prestigious World Rowing Awards.

sanita-puspure-celebrates-after-winning-the-w1x-a-finall Sanita Puspure after successfully defending her world title. Source: Detlev Seyb/INPHO

Back-to-back world champion Sanita Puspure has been included in the finalists for women’s crew of the year by herself, alongside duos from Australia, China and New Zealand.

This summer, single sculler Puspure set a new European record time en route to gold at the European Rowing Championships in Lucerne, before securing her ticket for Tokyo 2020 in her World Championships semi-final. 

The 37-year-old Latvian-born star then brilliantly retained her world title in the final in Austria, paying a touching tribute to her late sister, Inese, afterwards.

Joining Puspure on the equivalent men’s crew of the year shortlist is the new lightweight pairing of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy.

paul-odonovan-and-fintan-mccarthy-celebrate-after-winning-the-lm2x-a-final Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan. Source: Detlev Seyb/INPHO

The Skibereen double sculls duo also powered to a world title in Austria in August, after sealing their Olympic berth at the same meet. A month prior to that, they competed together for the first time at the World Cup in Rotterdam, and took home silver.

The Corkmen face competition from Chinese, Croatian, Derman and Dutch crews for the accolade.

And Ronan Byrne has been shortlisted for the Filippi Spirit Award. As per World Rowing, this is an accolade “for a university rower who has demonstrated the core values of rowing in his/her social, academic and sporting life and, through these values, also enabled or inspired exceptional success in other people’s lives”.

Cork’s Byrne, likewise, had success in Austria as the M2x double of himself and Philip Doyle also qualified for the 2020 Games courtesy of their semi-final win.

philip-doyle-and-ronan-byrne-celebrate-after-finishing-in-second-place-in-the-m2x-a-final Ronan Byrne (right) with Doyle. Source: Detlev Seyb/INPHO

They went on to clinch an historic silver medal in the final. This was the first time that Ireland won a heavyweight men’s sculling medal at the worlds since 1975.

UCC man Byrne also won gold for Ireland in the single sculls at the European U23 championships in Greece.

The winners will be announced on 22 November at a ceremony during the World Rowing Awards dinner in London.

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Emma Duffy

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