Sanita Puspure's Olympic Games are over after she decided to withdraw from the B-final of the women's single sculls.
A genuine medal prospect heading to Tokyo, Puspure placed a disappointing fifth in her semi-final on Thursday morning, condemning her to the B-final.
"However, she's opted against racing again on Friday morning, saying, "Over the past few days I have not been well, and I had to make the difficult decision to withdraw from the Olympic Regatta.
🗣️ 'Sanita, if you're listening, please go on to Paris! Get the medal you deserve.'
Niall O'Toole had a message for Sanita Puspure following her disappointment on the water | #OTBAM #Tokyo2020 @GilletteUK #BestFaceForward
FULL VIDEO ➡️ https://t.co/ohWOurQ4Ah pic.twitter.com/KLUqRClT4y
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) July 29, 2021
"This is really disappointing, as I had been going well over the past few months and had hoped to continue this good form. The Olympics is always a big goal so it’s heartbreaking to have to pull out in this manner.”
Speaking on this morning's OTB AM, three-time Olympian Niall O'Toole offered his support to Puspure, with the hope she continues on to Paris 2024.
"She looked very, very nervous at the start. I didn't like the look of the water, it had a nasty little chop across the top of it," he said, "It's the same for everybody but she doesn't tend to row that well in rough water from what I have seen in all of her races.
"When you talk about the cruelty of the sport with the girls and Sanita, and when you think that Gary [O'Donovan] was probably in the air when the guys were winning their medal, it is absolutely brutal.
"I am devastated for Sanita, she will be gutted today. To be beaten by competition [you know you have beaten before] and because the singles is such a psychological game in the singles [...] once you have your foot on somebody's neck, you can have it there for years.
"She didn't execute well enough, and that is gutting for her. She was slow off the start and she just did not get going at all in the race, I'm not sure if it was pressure or nerves. I am just so devastated for her, the whole rowing community is devastated for her, it was probably a year too late for her. This time last year, she had Olympic gold and that was it. She was streets ahead of everybody else.
"She is 39, and if she is listening to this: please go on to Paris. I would like to see her maybe in a four or a pair, get out of the single. It is absolutely brutal. Get out of the single, get yourself a medal in Paris and retire.
"But please hang on for three more years!"
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