BY KIERAN McCARTHY
GARY O’DONOVAN’S claim that his younger brother Paul is the strongest lightweight rower in world rowing was spot on.
Speaking to The Southern Star ahead of the Olympics in Rio – where the Lisheen brothers won silver in the men’s lightweight double sculls – Gary was rich in his praise of Paul, who won gold today in the men’s lightweight single scull at the world championships in Rotterdam.
Gary and a sizeable crew from Skibbereen Rowing Club were there today to cheer on Paul as he romped to a sensational win.
‘The big challenge for us fitting together, because Paul has so much international experience from the single scull, was that Paul was much tougher than I was when it came to racing,’ Gary pointed out.
‘I had to learn to keep up with his physical strength coming down the race course. I still struggle. He is immensely strong. It’s insane. They reckon he is one of the strongest, if not the strongest lightweight rower, in world rowing.
‘There’s physical strength but you need the mental strength to go with it. All the strength in the world is no good to you unless you can apply it going down the course over 2,000m. Paul is phenomenal at it.
‘We’ve had races this season when we’re coming towards the finish, when you would be at your limit, and I would think that I can’t do much more, but then I feel this huge surge of power coming from Paul. Out of nowhere the boat starts lifting up. That gives me the drive to find some more. I’ve learned to match his toughness and apply myself even more, during races and training.’