Sanita Puspure does not have to win each race, but when she’s on form that’s her way. And she is on form.
In her semi-final of the Olympic qualification regatta in Lucerne, she led through all four quarters. Aurelia-Maxima Katharina Janzen challenged, but Puspure, a 42-year-old former world champion, was able to increase her rating and see off the 20-year-old Swiss.
If Puspure continues in this vein, only Spain’s Virginia Diaz Rivas looks likely to match her come Tuesday’s final. The Spaniard won the first semi-final; but her time was eight seconds outside Puspure’s.
Konan Pazzaia had got the day off to the perfect start. The Ireland single sculler won his quarter-final the way he had won the heat – taking the lead and never letting up. Italy’s Davide Mumolo took second while Wei Han held the third and final qualifying time.
His time, 6:57.97, was the third fastest of the four quarters. Australia will not have a men’s single sculler at the Games. Oscar McGuinness missed out – he was fourth in the fastest quarter-final. He raced out of lane two, while Pazzaia had the superior lane in his race as he had won his heat.
Pazzaia went on to reach the final, taking third in his semi. Again, he led to the 1500-metre mark. But Mihai Chiruta of Romania and Kjetil Borch of Norway headed him in an exciting final quarter. Ireland have three boats in the finals on Tuesday – the women’s four did not need to negotiate their way through, as there were six entries.