The World Rowing Championships begin on Sunday, August 30th and a record 1,300 athletes from 77 countries will compete at Aiguebelette.
The International Federation have increased female participation by extending the Olympic qualification mark at Aiguebelette from nine to 11 boats in, among others, the women’s double and lightweight double which will be welcomed by Irish Rowing especially crews featuring Helen Hannigan/Lisa Dileen and Sinead Jennings/Claire Lambe.
Sanita Puspure’s job is tougher in that only the top nine (of an entry of 35 countries) will gain direct qualification. At the World Cup in Lucerne in July, Puspure finished second in the B Final, eighth overall – well ahead of Germany (13th), Russia (15th) and Britain (16th). Puspure finished with a bronze medal at the European Championships and fourth place at the World Championships and her coach Don McLachlan will want her to reach the A Final (top six).
The last chance method in 2016 for Rio qualification is now more difficult under new restrictions.
This means that if neither the women’s single (Sanita Puspure) nor the lightweight women’s double qualify in Aiguebelette, then only one of the two can find their way to Rio through next year’s Olympic qualifiers.
There are 33 entries for the lightweight men’s double sculls, nine of which will not even make the quarter finals. Ireland’s Gary and Paul O’Donovan hope to make the top 11, which would qualify their boat for Rio.