A TALENTED Skibbereen rower who has set his sights on representing Ireland at the Olympic Games next summer in Rio, alongside his elder brother Gart, is in the driving seat to become a Nissan Generation Next ambassador.
21-year-old Paul O’Donovan from Lisheen plans to compete in the lightweight double sculls event and is now just one step away from getting his hands on the keys to a brand new, taxed and insured Nissan to drive for a year and to making 2015 the year that he never looks back.
His achievements in the highly competitive sport greatly impressed Nissan, who developed the Nissan Generation Next programme to support ambitious people who have what it takes to becometomorrow’s leaders.
Paul was one of hundreds of applicants nationwide who applied for this year’s programme and he is now just one of 20 people who have been put through to the public voting phase to select ten Nissan Generation Next ambassadors for 2015.
‘Paul exemplifies what Nissan Generation Next is all about. He started rowing at seven years of age and has been on every Irish team since he was 14 years old. He won bronze at the U23 World Championship in 2013 and has consistently finished in the top four at world championship events,’ said James McCarthy, CEO of Nissan Ireland.
‘Paul has been selected for the Irish rowing team with his elder brother Gary. Himself and his brother are aiming to secure qualification for the Rio Olympic Games by finishing in the top 11 at the forthcoming World Rowing Championships in France,’ he added.
Paul currently divides his time between studying in Dublin and returning to Cork to join Gary for training sessions in Skibbereen and at the National Rowing Centre in Cork.
‘I am studying for my physiotherapy degree in UCD while my brother studies in Cork so I travel a lot every weekend to train with him at the National Rowing Centre in Cork. This involves a lot of travelling by bus and it can take upwards of seven hours to get from UCD to Skibbereen compared to three and a half hours by car,’ explained Paul.
‘A Nissan would save me huge amounts of time to put towards study as well as training. Being able to transport the boat on the roof of a Nissan would also make it easier to go between training venues in Skibbereen and the NRC in Cork,’ he added.
Paul is calling on everyone in Cork to get behind him and to vote for him. The six individuals with the largest number of votes will win a place on the Nissan Generation Next programme. The judges at Nissan will also select a further four applicants who have impressed them most.
Those interested in voting to support Paul can do so online by visiting www.nissangenerationnext.ie and casting their vote anytime up to July 6th 2015.