Sanita Puspure’s quest for podium at the Olympic Games has come to an end. With the top-three rowers progressing from both semi-finals, Puspure finished in fifth place and will now compete in the B final.
Puspure who is a two-time World and European champion, had identified the need to improve on her slow starts but once again found herself playing catch-up from the get-go. At the 500M mark, Puspure found herself 2.32 seconds behind the Netherlands’ Sarah Sophie Anna Souwer.
As the race progressed, the 39-year-old tried to put more pressure on the field but it wasn’t to be. It’s the furthest Puspure has gone in the Olympics, having departed at the quarter-final stage in London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Sport can be cruel. It’s not the way Puspure would have wanted to depart. That said, it shouldn’t detract from heights Puspure has reached in the sport for Ireland. Puspure has inspired girls to take up rowing in Ireland and dream big. She is a two-time World and European gold medallist and was the first Irish female to compete in the single-sculls at an Olympic Games since 1980.
Irish Rowing Team manager Feargal O'Callaghan on the disappointment of Sanita Puspure not making an Olympic final - 'She's a credit to the country - Sanita was flying the flag for rowing in Ireland when nobody else was' #olympics #tokyo2020 #RTESport pic.twitter.com/i2r1UkOy0O
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) July 29, 2021
As team manager Feargal O'Callaghan told RTE, "Sanita was flying the flag for Irish rowing when no one else was. "I think she's been a credit to her country, she's a two-time world champion and we should never forget that
Russia’s Hanna Prakatsen crossed the finish line in first place a time of 7:23.61 – she is now the clear favourite to take gold in the event.. Jeannine Gmelin finished second and Jiang Yan was third.
In the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls, the Irish crew performed outstandingly to finish second in their B Final with a time of 6:49.90, resulting in an eighth overall final standing, pushing winners of the B Final, Switzerland to the line, crossing the line just 0.74 seconds after them. Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in May, and throughout the Olympic Regatta have produced top class performances, which bodes well for the Paris Olympic cycle.
The Women’s Pair of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley finished fifth in their B Final with 7:02.22, in what was an extremely competitive field, resulting in an 11th place finish overall. They started strong, putting themselves right in the mix, in a grueling battle with Romania and USA which ensued for the remainder of the race. The Killorglin Pair are part of the emerging strong squad of female rowers in Ireland from which the Olympic Bronze Medal winning crew was selected.
2nd place in Race 8 for @Annalise_Murphy brings her up to 14th place overall in the #LaserRadial.
Last 2 races tomorrow and top 10 boats go into Medal Race.
pic @davidbranigan #TeamIreland #Tokyo2020 @Irish_Sailing pic.twitter.com/z3CKfH9kVT
— Team Ireland (@TeamIreland) July 29, 2021
Annalise Murphy has put her tough start in the Laser Radial behind her as she has fought back to put herself in contention of making her third Olympic final. Coming in to this mornings session, Murphy was in 20th place after 12th place finishes in her opening two races, followed by 24th and 3th place finishes before improving with 9th and 10th place finishes.
In the early hours of this morning, the Rathfarnham sailor pulled out two massive performances to keep her final hopes alive as she clinched a first place and second place in Race 7 and 8 in the Laser Radial.
Tomorrow will be vital.
14 points off a spot in the medal race - Annalise will need another big day tomorrow to make up the difference so hopefully the boost from today will carry her through! pic.twitter.com/BLynyxW8Nw
— Annalise Murphy (@Annalise_Murphy) July 29, 2021