The prospects of adding more boats to the six already qualified for Paris 2024 look very good after the first day of the Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland. Sanita Puspure and Konan Pazzaia both won their heats of the single sculls, while the women’s four took second in their preliminary race.
Puspure, seen here with her coach Ashlee Rowe, is focused on reaching her fourth Olympic Games. She started her campaign in eye-catching fashion: a clear-water winner in the fastest time of the three heats. Two more races of this ilk and she is off to Paris.
Konan Pazzaia (below) also led his race from early on and won. At just 23, he is fairly new to this level. But coming out of a high-achieving programme, he must know that if he can reproduce this form – fifth fastest on a day of five heats – through Monday’s quarter-finals and semi-finals he could make Tuesday’s A Final. And once there he would be in with a shout of the top-two place which will qualify him for the Games.
The women’s four of Imogen Magner, Eimear Lambe, Natalie Long and Emily Hegarty took second in their preliminary race. The Denmark crew swept into the lead and then saw and raised the Irish as they tried to catch the red boat. These two fours were well ahead of the other crews until the closing stages,  and with two boats qualifying from a straight final on Tuesday, holding or bettering this position will be good enough for the Ireland women’s four to again grace the Olympic stage.