Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Month - October
The winner of The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman Award for October 2020 is Rower, Sanita Puspure.
Last December, Sanita Puspure was crowned The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year for 2019. That Sanita Puspure spoke about how much she was looking forward to 2020, not least that little event that was due to take place in Tokyo during the summer. But we all know what has happened since then.
The last eight months have been a touch surreal for the double world champion, deprived for a spell, like all her sporting colleagues, of the rhythm of a regimented training routine and a calendar that told her precisely when she needed to peak.
In the early stages of the first lockdown, she wasn’t allowed train on the water at all, and for a while after she could only train alone. That, she admitted, resulted in the motivation seeping out of her, the lack of competition removing the edge from her work.
Training alone, I found that really, really challenging. As an athlete it was very hard because we're so used to that competitive environment in training - that's what keeps us going and pushes us every day.
"Training alone, I found that really, really challenging,” she said to RTÉ's Game On. “As an athlete it was very hard because we're so used to that competitive environment in training - that's what keeps us going and pushes us every day.”
When she headed to Poznan last month, rather than it being her first outing after the Tokyo Olympics, it proved to be her first competitive event of the whole year.
She could have been forgiven for being a little rusty, but instead she cruised to victory in the single sculls, picking up her sixth major international medal.
As soon as the Ballincollig-based rower had the gold medal around her neck, she was talking about her Tokyo ambitions again, conceding that, despite retaining her European title, she’ll have to up her game if she is to be in contention for an Olympic medal.
For now we say a well-deserved congratulations to Sanita Puspure The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Month for October 2020.