Egan Leaps to top of podium

by Dave O'Connor

JENNY Egan seems to love rewriting the history books as she became the first Irish athlete, male or female, to win medals at the ICF Senior Canoe Sprint World Cups and at the senior European Sprint Championships.
And she added a beautiful gold to her medal haul as she topped the podium for the first time when she was the champion in the K1 5000m at the ICF World Cup 3 in Motemor-o-Velho, Portugal.
Speaking about the race, the Salmon Leap club member said: “there was a very strong wind, making waves on the course creating a more tactical race” but she worked the conditions perfectly.
“It was an amazing feeling to cross the finish line and then to see the Irish flag being raised with the national anthem, Amhran na bhFiann, gave me shivers down my spine”.
She added that the medal presentation was made extra special as her father – Tom Egan who was the Team Leader – took part in the ceremony. Her mother Angie and brother Peter were also there.
Egan said “it is a moment I will cherish forever”, adding “it is always special to have my family with me during these competitions, they have been with me through the good and the bad races”.
For the first 1,000m of the race there was a tailwind, with a leading group of four approaching the first turning point including Egan, Margaret Hogan of USA, Melanie Gebhardt and Boroka Braun of Hungary.
Egan said “the wind made the turns more difficult as you had to be careful you did not get pushed inside the buoys or collide with the other competitors”.
The Lucan woman took the lead with 750m from the finish line knowing that she had to try and defend her position in the front of the group until she crossed the finish line.
Egan said “I made the decision to try to keep the lead and if they tried to sprint past me I would raise my speed further”.
She did just that out sprinting Hogan from USA and Gebhardt of Germany winning by 0.99 seconds.
Also at the meet, Egan also qualified at this regatta for the A Final of the Olympic distance of K1 500m beating Olympic athlete Hogan in the process.
Egan is the first Irish male or female kayaker to make an A final in an Olympic distance at a Senior Canoe Sprint World Cup.
This is another great accomplishment for Egan along with having achieved a new Irish national record time in the women’s K1 500m of 1 minute 51.166 seconds and the women’s K1 200m 41.515 seconds at World Cup 1 in Duisburg Germany.

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