TOKYO: Ireland won their first medal of the Tokyo Olympics with a bronze for the women’s four at the Sea Forest Waterway.
The quartet of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty held off the British boat to finish third behind Australia and the Netherlands.
They are the first female rowers to win an Olympic medal for Ireland, and Lambe cited the influence of the silver won by Gary and Paul O’Donovan in the lightweight doubles sculls in Rio.
She said: “It really means a lot. In Ireland, rowing’s really coming up now as a sport and it was groundbreaking in 2016 when the O’Donovan brothers got the silver medal and now to be part of that and building on that is just incredible, especially for women’s rowing.”
Ireland have another medal chance with double world champion Sanita Puspure through to the semi-finals of the singles sculls, and Keogh hailed the strength of the women’s team.
She said: “It’s a big boat that we’re fielding, it’s not just a pair or a single. The fact that we do have a large women’s squad and we’re able to put out multiple boats I think is quite an achievement for us as well.”
Paul O’Donovan, competing in Tokyo with Fintan McCarthy, could yet win another medal with the duo having qualified fastest in a world best time for the final of the lightweight double.