Athlete of the Month – November 2018
The new World Champion in the women’s single sculls, Sanita Puspure, is back hard at work after her win at the 2018 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv. The Irish rower, who was born in Latvia, has made history by become the first Irish woman to win the event. She tells us how she’s staying down to earth and looking to Tokyo.
World Rowing: Congratulations on your win in Bulgaria. How does it feel to be a World Champion?
Sanita Puspure: Thank you! Doesn't feel much different than before, life is still the same.
WR: What was it about this year that meant you had success?
SP: I think it was the combination of few things – the nutrition and training programme were the biggest changes we made and I also mentality changed a bit which allowed me to feel more relaxed around racing. I enjoyed it more.
WR: What have you been doing since your win?
SP: I had couple of weeks off then it was back to training. We didn't go on holidays as the kids were back in school, Kaspar (husband) was working and studying and I enrolled myself back in college.
WR: Was it hard to come back down to earth and train again?
SP: By the time we had to start training again I already had one foot on earth! The first few weeks of training felt hard, my body was rested but my mind wasn't. But we started with gentle enough training so it wasn't too horrible.
WR: Why did you take up rowing– and why do you still do it?
SP: I wanted to try something new. I had never seen a rowing boat before so I thought it would be fun to try. I fell in love with the sport straight after I tried it. And obviously I’m still loving it. Although, ask me again at the end of the training camp :)
WR: What is rowing in Ireland like, compared with Latvia?
SP: It's pretty much the same, you need a boat and a stretch of water. In Ireland we can row all year around but in Latvia the river can freeze over, so no rowing over the winter months there.
WR: Irish rowing has enjoyed some real success in the last few years – why do you think that is?
SP: Years of hard work, determination and self-belief combined with the right amount of support from coaches and the Institute of Sport. I think success breeds success in a way. We just keep pushing each other on as well to see how far can we get - there's a really good group of athletes training in Ireland at the moment.
WR: Do any of the qualities you’ve gained from being a parent help in your rowing?
SP: I think I have more patience in rowing than I have dealing with kids’ tantrums :) I think parenting is the hardest job in the world. When I'm away on training camp I always try to make the most of it to justify time away from kids - that is one thing that helps rowing.
WR: What do your kids think about your talent?
SP: I hope they are a little bit proud of me.
WR: What will you do for your winter training?
SP: Lots of exciting stuff! Erg tests, trials and all the fun! I'd love to go cross country skiing at some stage but I don't think it's a part of our training plan.
WR: What is your next big goal and how do you plan to achieve it?
SP: The next big focus is qualification for Tokyo (2020 Olympics). I'll trust the process and programme to get me there.
WR: What do you do when you are not rowing?
SP: When I'm not rowing I should be studying now - but you often can catch me watching some series on Netflix.
WR: What do you do for fun?
SP: Training obviously