Paul O’Donovan wins World Cup gold in his first international appearance since the Tokyo Olympics

Paul O’Donovan returned to his victories in Switzerland, where he won gold in the easy singles – his first international appearance since becoming Olympic champion with doubles partner Fintan McCarthy in Tokyo last year.

After making short work of his opening run on Friday, the Skibbereen athlete had to play his semifinals and final in one day in Lucerne, where he is Ireland’s sole representative at the third and final World Cup event of the season.

In the semifinals in the morning he had to come from behind after Uruguayan sculler Bruno Cetraro Berriolo made all the early heat, but O’Donovan once again rowed the fastest 500m splits to win.

It was the Uruguayan who led his race again in Saturday’s final, only to be led by Australia’s Oscar McGuinness, but O’Donovan again drove his own race, moving through the field until a finishing burst at 48 strokes-per Minute the opposition exploded away. Belgium’s Tibo Vyvey won silver behind O’Donovan while Berriolo eclipsed McGuinness for bronze.

For medical student O’Donovan, exams and hospitalizations abroad had to be priorities.

“I’ve been away from the National Training Center all year so now we have to go back and see where we are for the rest of the season and maybe see a World Cup double again,” he said.

Ireland’s lightweight trainer Dominic Casey is spoiled for choice with athletes to fill the two coveted spots in this Olympic boating class, with Gary O’Donovan and Fintan and Jake McCarthy all in contention. Paul O’Donovan wins World Cup gold in his first international appearance since the Tokyo Olympics

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