IF ACTUALLY getting to and competing in the Olympic Games was a dream come true, it’s hard to imagine the emotions Sinead Jennings will be experiencing this afternoon. At 2.32 Irish time, the Letterkenny native will contest an Olympic final.
She’ll become the first Donegal athlete to take part in an Olympic final when she and Claire Lambe line up for the women’s lightweight double sculls final on the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon in Rio.
Yesterday, a magnificent semi-final display saw them make it to the final.
They came through third in their heat, with Dutch pair Ilse Paulis and Maaike Head and Canada’s Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee in front of them.[adrotate group=”81″]
Perhaps significantly, the time recorded by Jennings and Lambe (7:18.24) was quicker than two of the other three qualifiers for the final: Sophie MacKenzie and Julia Edward from New Zealand; and Chinese pair Wenyi Huang and Feihong Pan.
South African’s Kirsten McCann and Ursula Grobler won that semi and were faster, but Jennings is thrilled to be in the mix for the final.
“It feels absolutely fabulous,” Jennings beamed yesterday.
“There was the years put in before, but not so much that. I’ve really enjoyed the journey of coming back. I really enjoy working with Claire.[adrotate group=”38″]
“Being away from my family was tough. If it hadn’t worked out it would have been a waste of time, but I’m so happy that it has all been worthwhile. It shows, if you work hard your dream is manageable.”
Jennings waited 16 years to just compete on the Olympic stage. Three times she tried and three times without success. But back she came and her decision not to give in has been vindicated.
Her husband, Sam Lynch, is a two-time Olympian. Sam is in Rio while the couple’s three children – Clodagh, Molly and Hannah – have stayed in Ireland.[adrotate group=”46″]
The Hawthorn Heights woman, the World champion singles sculler way back in 2001, said: “After the Worlds last year, we knew that we were a good crew. We wanted to make the most of it. I didn’t have a brilliant winter, but to come good at the right time just feels amazing.
“I feel so happy for my parents, Sam’s parents and the au pair looking after the girls all this time. It feels I can pay them back something by making the final.”[adrotate group=”37″] Tags: