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'I was thrown around like a fish in the sea and hardly survived without falling in'

Sanita Puspure tells The42 just how difficult the conditions in Lagoa Stadium were this morning.

Puspure: recovered in tough conditions to qualify for Tuesday's quarter-finals.
Puspure: recovered in tough conditions to qualify for Tuesday's quarter-finals.

– Niall Kelly reports from Lagoa Stadium, Rio de Janeiro

SANITA PUSPURE NEEDED more than just her rowing skills this morning as choppy water conditions called for ‘a bit of sailing and a bit of surfing’ in the heats of the women’s single sculls.

Ballincollig’s Puspure booked her place in the Olympic quarter-finals with a time of 9:11.45, good enough for second place behind Carling Zeeman of Canada.

But strong winds at the Lagoa Stadium threatened to blow her Olympic challenge off course and very nearly caused her to capsize.

“I was comfortable in the last 250 metres, yes, and in the first 200 metres, yes,” Puspure told The42.

But the middle of it, not really. I was thrown around like a fish in the sea and hardly survived without falling in.

“But I made it to the finish line so it was all good.

“It was more suited for sailing, not rowing,” she added.

After starting the third heat neck and neck with Zeeman, Puspure lost ground in the middle section of the race as the wind badly hampered her.

But she recovered to finish strongly and edged home ahead of Egypt’s Nadia Negm, the top three athletes all safely through to Tuesday’s quarter-finals (from 1.10pm Irish).

“At one stage the wind blew me right across at a different angle and I was going right parallel to the course, and I had to tap one arm only to get straight back in my lane.

It’s not really the conditions you want for an Olympic Games but it is what it is and we just have to deal with it as best we can.

“We had a similar regatta at Europeans this year and I managed to get a bronze medal out of it.

“I thought that was really, really bad but this is worse than that.”

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Niall Kelly

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