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'I hope my sister is proud of me, watching from above' - Emotional Puspure after retaining world title

The 37-year-old’s sister passed away earlier this year following a cancer diagnosis.

Puspure after winning the women's singles final.
Puspure after winning the women's singles final.
Image: Detlev Seyb/INPHO

IRELAND’S SANITA PUSPURE paid a touching tribute to her sister after successfully defending her singles title at the World Rowing championships in Austria.

Her sister Inese passed away due to cancer earlier this year after being initially diagnosed in 2017.

Puspure, who was in third place during the opening stages of the final, surged to victory with a blistering finish to leave New Zealand’s Emma Twigg in second place.

The 37-year-old came into these championships with a European gold medal in the single sculls during the summer, and is now world champion once again.

“This race, I was quite emotionally charged for it,” Puspure told RTÉ Sport after her victory in Austria.

I wanted to do it for myself, my family, for my Mom as well. She needs something nice to happen to us this summer. I hope my sister is proud of me as well, watching from above.

“We’ve done so much hard work during the winter and I missed about three weeks of really good training during the summer. It’s still stood up to me so I’m really happy.”

Remarking on her performance in the final, Puspure said the race didn’t unfold as she would have liked and mentioned that she had missed some vital training during the season.

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She also said she felt nervous as her last competitive outing was the European final. 

“I’m not gonna lie, it wasn’t as comfortable looking back to see where she is instead of controlling the race from the front like I did the last time on Friday.

Thank God we’ve done so many sprints at home so it stood to me. I think training with such a big group like we have now really benefits me because I can pace against other boats and try to come to the finish line first.

“When it really matters it does pay off.”

“I was really nervous because the last race I had was the European final and now the Worlds, so it’s almost like the start of the season from scratch but we had a really good training camp.”

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