A LIMERICK teenager struck double gold in Belgium last weekend when he was a member of the Irish team at a prestigious European junior rowing tournament.
17 year old James Quinlan from Castleconnell was part of the Junior men’s quadruple rowing crew that secured two gold medals for Ireland at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in Hazewinkel, Belgium.
After the multiple successes of the O’Donovan brothers, Irish rowing remains on an upward curve with Team Ireland winning three gold medals on the first day of the event and two gold medals on the second day. Ireland had just four boats entered and all four got through to the A finals on both days, helping them secure third place overall in the medal table.
Quinlan and his fellow crew members Barry O’Flynn, Matt Dundon and Jack Keating produced a fantastic performance across both days.
A student at Castletroy college, James is a member of Castleconnell Boat Club and last weekend marked his first international victory.
Reflecting on the race, he said that while the Irish crew were behind coming out of the blocks, they maintained composure and trusted in their mid-race speed.
“This gave us confidence coming into the halfway point. At 1500 metres we were in front by a length. The Italians began to push on us and came close, but we were able to hold them off”.
He expressed his thanks to the Castleconnell club for their support throughout the year and his coach James Mangan for helping him “to become a better athlete every day.”
Castleconnell Boat Club president Owen Silke said they were delighted for James and all the young athletes who travelled to Belgium.
“James has worked incredibly hard and it’s great that this has paid off,” he added.
“We’re also lucky to have a great stretch of water in Castleconnell. We have a fine 3km stretch of river between the weir and the bridge which is ideal for training. Not only is it sheltered, it’s an absolutely stunning part of the country to train in.”
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