Olympic hero Paul targets world rowing domination

August 22nd, 2016 1:00 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

SILVER BULLETS: Lisheen's Gary and Paul O'Donovan celebrate winning a silver medal in the men's lightweight double sculls A final at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Fantastic Friday, a day the brothers will never forget. (Photo: Morgan Treacy/INPHO)

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HE’S one half of the brother act that has captivated the nation and now Olympian Paul O’Donovan has a new goal: world domination.

Last Friday, Paul (22) and his older brother Gary (23) raced their way into the history books when they became the first ever Irish rowers to medal at the Olympic Games, following their superb silver success in the men’s lightweight double sculls in Rio.

The Lisheen brothers’ endearing personalities, laidback style and captivating interviews, not to mention their obvious rowing talent, saw them make front page and back page news on a national scale, and become internet sensations, and now Paul is ready to bring more silverware back to Skibbereen for the impending homecoming.

Paul and coach Dominic Casey, also from Skibbereen, left Rio de Janeiro on Monday evening, as they turned their attention to the world rowing championships that will be held in Rotterdam from August 21st to 28th.

The Olympic silver medallist is one of six Skibbereen Rowing Club athletes who will compete at the junior, U23 and senior world championships in Holland.

Paul will race in the men’s lightweight single sculls, Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan will look to improve on their seventh place finish at last year’s worlds in the senior lightweight pair, Fintan McCarthy competes in the U23 men’s lightweight quad, while Emily Hegarty and Aoife Casey make up the Irish junior women’s double.

Despite his adventure in Rio and the physical and emotional toll, Paul O’Donovan didn’t consider skipping the world championships, and instead he is now targeting a gold medal in his event.

‘I am quite happy to compete at the worlds; I made sure of that before I made the decision to race in Rotterdam that I don’t want to have any regrets,’ Paul told The Southern Star before he left Rio earlier this week.

‘The main reason I am going is because I have a chance of winning it. Whether that will materialise now or not, I don’t know, but I am happy to go and give it a shot.

‘If I win it, that will be fantastic, and if I come third or fourth or don’t make the final, at least I know I have given it a go. I don’t want any regrets.

‘I am looking forward to refocusing the mind, getting back into a routine again and getting back to business again.’

Paul will be joined in Rotterdam at the worlds by Gary next week, as the latter is staying in Rio for the closing ceremony and will fly from Brazil to Holland on August 23rd.

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