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Sanita Puspure comfortably into quarter-finals as Ireland's Olympics begins

Byrne and Doyle face repechage after missing automatic qualification for the men’s double sculls semis.

Puspure: double world and European champion holds a major medal chance.
Puspure: double world and European champion holds a major medal chance.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated Jul 23rd 2021, 3:06 AM

SANITA PUSPURE GOT Ireland’s Olympics off to a perfect start as she booked her place in the quarter-finals of the women’s single sculls rowing with an assured opening performance.

But there was disappointment for the men’s double sculls pairing of Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle who missed out on automatic qualification for the semi-finals.

The duo — who are regarded among Ireland’s best medal prospects in Toyko — will have a second chance to qualify via the repechage on Saturday morning.

Puspure will return to the water on Monday after she comfortably won the second of Friday’s six heats with more than eight seconds to spare over her rivals.

The double world and European champion hit the front at the 500m mark and was in total control from that point on, putting clear water between her and Mexico’s Kenia Lechuga in second place by the time they hit the half-way mark.

Puspure, 39, extended her advantage throughout the second half of the race, winning in a time of 7:46.08.

Lechuga was second in 7:54.21, just holding off a determined late rally from Greece’s Anneta Kyridou who was closing with every stroke before taking the third and final qualification place in 7:54.28. 

New Zealand’s Emma Twigg — who finished fourth in Rio five years ago — set the fastest time across the six heats, winning in 7:35.22.

The women’s single sculls quarter-finals get underway from 1am Irish time on Monday morning.

In the men’s double sculls, Byrne and Doyle finished fourth of four in a time of 6:14.40.

The 2019 world silver medallists found themselves pitted in a very competitive heat with just over three seconds separating the four boats at the finish line.

With three boats qualifying automatically for the semis, Byrne and Doyle were locked in a battle for third with New Zealand’s Jack Lopas and Christopher Harris in the final quarter of the race but came up just short.

Their repechage takes place at 1.40am Irish time on Saturday morning.

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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