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Ireland won its first medal of Tokyo Olympics, taking bronze in women’s rowing

TOKYO: Team Ireland claimed their first medal at the Tokyo Olympics after a spectacular race by Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh, and Emily Hegarty in the final round of women’s rowing.

After a slow start, the Irish boat turned up the heat over the final 1000m, finishing in 6:20.46 and winning bronze in the women’s four final.

The four are the first female rowers from Ireland to win Olympic medals, and they are only the second Irish female crew to compete in an Olympic final.  

In windy conditions at the Sea Forest Waterway, Ireland did not get off to the start they desired. At the 500m mark, they were in fourth position, and at the half-way point, they had slipped to fifth.

However, the team found the rhythm in the second half of the match. They overtook China and narrowed the gap on Britain at the 1,500m mark.

Ireland had four teams ahead of them with 500m to go – Australia, the Netherlands, China, and Britain. The Irish racers overtook Britain, and with 200m to go, they stretched away to beat China by half a length and clinch third place.

The battle for first place was a close one, with Australia, who had dominated the race from the start, narrowly beating out the Netherlands. Australia set an Olympic record with a time of 6:15.37, while the Dutch finished in 6:15.71.

After the match, the Irish team admitted that their slow start was a cause for concern, but they never lost faith in their ability to return.

“We also knew that every crew could was also capable of winning a medal so it was just about who got down the course as well as they could in these conditions,” Eimear Lambe said.

“It is a bit surreal. I think it is just something for the future. Hopefully, this will be the first of many. Hopefully, it gives the young girls coming up real hope it is completely possible. If we can do it, anyone can,” Emily Hegarty said.

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