A first ever medal for Ireland at the 2011 World Junior Championships held over the 2012 Olympic Games course at Eton Dorney this morning. Portora’s Holly Nixon who represents Rowing Ireland had been the fastest qualifier for the final. Today she came up against the elite of the world’s juniors. Could she gain Ireland’s first ever medal?
History was indeed made. Though it was Holly’s first major International event she was in the lead almost from the off, ahead of Latvia’s Elza Gulbe . By midway Nixon remained in first, with no more than seconds between the leading four boats and with Gulbe, Elena Coletti of Italy and Anne Beenken of Germany all in close attendance of Nixon. Eventually Beenken got ahead of Nixon so it was all down to the sprint for the line.
Beenken remained ahead to take the Gold. Nixon made history with silver in winning the first ever medal for Ireland at World junior championship level. Gulbe came through for bronze.
A delighted Holly Nixon said later: “I have been training for this for about five years now and everybody wants to do well. Ireland have not won a world medal in a long time so I took it on my shoulders to get it for them – that’s what I did. Maybe I will get gold at U23. These rowers will be around with me and as a group we will be growing up together. The cross wind was so strong out there and an advantage to anyone who is used to rough conditions, and that was probably to my advantage. I ran out of strength in my right arm.”
Ireland came close to winning a second medal when Skibbereen’s Paul O’Donovan came agonisingly close to getting a bronze in the men’s event.Indeed only 0.32 of a second separated him from Ukraine’s Mykhailov . An excellent performance too from the young Corkman.
Women – Junior Single Sculls – A Final: 1 Germany (A Beenken) 7:58.00, 2 Ireland (H Nixon) 7:59.56, 3 Latvia (E Gulbe) 8:02.62; 4 Italy 7:06.10, 5 Denmark 8:10.75, 6 Czech Republic 8:17.94.
Men – Junior Single Sculls – A Final: 1 Germany (S Riemekasten) 7:03.41, 2 Greece (A Dafnis) 7:05.42, 3 Ukraine (A Mykhailov) 7:05.78; 4 Ireland (P O’Donovan) 7:06.10, 5 Latvia 7:18.57, 6 Switzerland 7:21.38.