The Gold Rush continues in Portugal
After the fantastic results in the short course races where Barry Watkins took Silver in the Senior Mens race and Rónán Foley took Gold in the Junior Mens, the great results continued on Sunday. The day started out with the Junior Womens race. Kate McCarthy and Áine White took the water for their 1st taste of International Long course marathon racing. They battled tough conditions with low tides making the portages longer than for any other class. Both girls fought to the end with Kate taking 9th place while Áine finished in 12th, beating many of the local paddlers.
Next up was the Junior Men where a massive field of 80+ paddlers lined up. Rónán continued his domination of the junior mens class, controlling the race from the start and keeping out of trouble by ensuring he was first boat into the portages. On the final portage Rónán made his move to drop the British paddler who had been the only one who managed to stay with him throughout the race. He cruised home to cap of a great weekend with a second Gold Medal. While Rónán stole the headlines four other juniors battled away in the massive field. All done themselves proud and gained valuable experience of what it’s like to race on the big stage. Matthew McCartney took 16th position, Oisín Mulligan 33rd and Odhran Henson 45th. Unfortunately Cormac Slattery was forced to retire early after hurting his foot at the first portage.
In the evening Barry Watkins flew off the start of the Senior Mens race which again had a field of 80+ paddlers. His fast start ensured he got out ahead of the carnage and stayed in the lead group. Barry looked strong throughout the race, never dropping outside of the lead pack but as conditioned worsened the waves grew. Barry, along with a few other athletes fell foul to the conditions as the waves crashed over his deck and essentially sunk his boat. Once emptied and back in the boat Barry battled on to take 10th position. We look forward to seeing what he can do in the rest of the season when hopefully the conditions don’t have such drastic effect on the results.