O’Donovan storms to gold at World Rowing Championship

Posted August 29, 2016

  • UCD student wins World Championship gold to add to Olympic silver medal
  • O'Donovan just one of four Irish rowers to win World Rowing Championship gold

Irish Olympic hero and UCD student Paul O’Donovan has won the gold medal in the men’s single lightweight sculls at the World Rowing Championship.

Just two weeks after he claimed an Olympic silver medal with his brother Gary in the lightweight double sculls in Rio, the 22-year-old recorded an emphatic four second victory in a time of 7:32.84 in the final of the single lightweight sculls in Rotterdam.

The UCD student had a typically slow start and was last just before the 500m mark. But he attacked with a powerful surge at the halfway point and was a length clear of the chasing pack for much of the last 500m, winning by two clear lengths at the finish.

Peter Galambos of Hungary and Lukas Babac of Slovenia won silver and bronze respectively.

Paul is just one of four Irish rowers to win gold at the World Rowing Championship after Sean Drea (1975), Niall O'Toole (1991) and Sinead Lynch (2001).

Below: Highlights of the men's lightweight single sculls final at the World Rowing Championships 2016 in Rotterdam

“The first stroke was bad, but then the second one was good so I went from there,” Paul O'Donovan said after the race.

“At the 500m left I remembered I told my friends when I was in Rio that I would win here by open water, so I thought I should probably keep my promise. Then at 200m to go I guess I started smiling a little.”

Ireland’s second world champion, Niall O’Toole, has described Paul as Ireland’s greatest ever rower.

Paul’s performance in the World Rowing Championship was particularly impressive as he won his single sculls heat, quarter-final, semi-final and final all in succession.

By Jamie Deasy, digital journalist, UCD University Relations