Egan battles to gold in Portugal World Cup event

by Karl Graham

JENNY Egan battled through heartbreak and a debilitating illness to win K1 5,000m gold at the canoe sprint World Cup in Portugal last weekend – as she refuses to give up on her dream of representing Ireland at an Olympic Games.
The 30-year old from Lucan finished just 0.77 of a second ahead of Spain’s Estefania Fernandez to take gold in this event for the second year in a row.
In addition, she reach the A final of the 200m, finishing ninth in that race, too.
Egan suffered the agony of missing out on qualification for the Games in both London and Rio by one spot before picking up an illness that threatened to ruin her chances of a successful 2017.
She put all that behind her, however, to cross the line first in the A final of the K1 5,000m, while also making the final of the K1 200 and missing out on the K1 500 decider by just 0.07 of a second.
“Believe me, you get very upset; that hair’s-breadth you miss an A-final, or miss an Olympic qualification,” Egan said after winning her gold medal following her travails in 2016. “It’s tough but you have to ask yourself ‘what can I do better so this will not happen again?’”
Last year saw Egan become the first Irish canoeist, male or female, to win gold at a World Cup so her talent is undoubted. However, it took her a long time to get to that stage after missing out of London 2012.
“When I just missed London, it affected my 2012 season quite badly so the one thing I said going into 2016 is I’m going to give it my best shot, but if I don’t qualify I’m not going to let it affect the rest of my 2016 season. And I ended up having the best year of my life.”
Tokyo 2020 is now the dream for Egan and there will be many people inside and outside of the canoeing world that will be very happy if it’s a dream she finally gets to achieve.

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