SINEAD JENNINGS AND Claire Lambe finished sixth in this afternoon women’s lightweight double sculls final at the Olympic Games in Rio.
Letterkenny woman Jennings and Lambe were always up against it in their bid to medal having defied seedings, rankings and odds to even make it to the final at the Lagoa Stadium.
The race got away from Jennings and Lambe, for whom making it to the final was in itself a superb achievement, becoming the first Irish female crew to make it to an Olympic final.
Qualifying for the final, Patsy McGonagle – the Irish Athletics Team Manager – said yesterday was the greatest achievement EVER by a Donegal sportsperson.
Ilse Paulis and Maaike Head from the Netherlands claimed gold in seven minutes and 4.7 seconds, while Canadian pair Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee were the silver medallists in 7:05.88.[adrotate group=”81″]
Wenyi Huang and Feihong Pan took bronze in 7:06.49 while Jennings and Lambe finished in 7:13.09.
Jennings and Lambe were sixth coming through 500m, but it was neck-and-neck with little between any of the six crews at that point.
The Chinese were out of the blocks sharply along with South Africans, Kirsten McCann and Ursula Grobler.
The strength of the remainder of the crews told and the gap was widening by the mid-way stage, when the South African boat was about four seconds up on the Irish, who faded.
Jennings and Lambe made it to the final via an impressive and determined semi-final when they finished third.
World Rowing’s rankings showed that Jenings and Lambe ought to have been in today’s B final, outlining just how well they’d performed this week.
Going through 1,500m in fourth in the semi, they overhauled the Danish boat to make it into the final.[adrotate group=”70″]
In doing so, they became the first Irish female rowing pair to reach an Olympic final and for Jennings it was the culmination of a lifetime of effort, heartbreak, commitment, courage and, above all, a refusal to accept defeat.
A 39-year-old doctor, Jennings has three young children, Clodagh, Molloy and Hannah. Between studying, qualifying as a GP and giving birth to three girls, Jennings managed to win the battle of making it to the Olympic stage.
Three times previously – without success – she tried to qualify for the Olympics, but now she was lining up in the final at the Lagoa Stadium.[adrotate group=”76″] Tags: