The Irish lightweight men’s pair of Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan claimed their third Gold medal of 2017 in their final at World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland, while Gary and Paul O’Donovan (Skibbereen/UCD) won silver in the men’s lightweight competition.
With only three entries in the lightweight men’s pair event, a medal was guaranteed for Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan, but this doesn’t take from the strong performance required to come out on top. The Skibbereen rowers lead from the start to easily beat Britain and Brazil.
Ireland’s lightweight men’s double, Gary and Paul O’ Donovan, who won silver in a battle with rivals France and Poland. The 2016 Olympic Champions, France, and the Olympic silver medallists, Ireland won their respective heats meaning direct qualification. The French double had the fastest start but the race remained tight up to the halfway point with each of the six crews separated by the narrowest of margins. The battling crews then began to make their moves and China moved into second with France’s Azou and Houin, at 38 strokes per minute, striding away from the rest of the field. In the third 500m Paul and Gary O’Donovan showed their speed and took over second place, but the Chinese were hanging on. Poland put in a huge final push to eventually snatch third however, with Ireland’s O’Donovan brothers in second and France taking the Gold by just under three seconds.
Finishing at the top of the World Cup points table in Poznan was New Zealand with 50 points followed by Britain on 40 points and Germany with 36. In terms of the medals table, New Zealand also finished on top by winning six gold medals and a silver. As well as the men’s single and women’s pair, New Zealand took gold in the lightweight women’s single sculls, both the men’s and women’s double sculls and the women’s eight. Host nation Poland finished second with two gold, two silver and four bronze medals. Australia was third with two gold, one silver and two bronze medals.
The World Rowing Cup series was launched in 1997 and consists of a series of three events each year. The overall World Rowing Cup winners are determined after the third and final event, this year in Lucerne, from 7th to 9th July 2017. This year the first regatta of the series this year was in Belgrade from 5th to 7th May 2017.