Nissan had plenty of cause for celebration this week when three of its young ambassadors claimed gold medals to rise to the top of European Rowing and World Modern Pentathlon.
Skibbereen brothers Paul (21) and Gary (23) O’Donovan became European Rowing Champions in the Lightweight Double Sculls while Kilkenny’s Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe (23) also won gold for Ireland in the Mixed Relay at the Modern Pentathlon World Cup.
All three athletes are Nissan Generation Next ambassadors and their success in what was a golden weekend for both Nissan and Irish sport has clearly underlined their potential to secure medals when they represent Ireland at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Paul and Gary have succeeded in becoming European Champions and that Arthur, who is the reigning individual European Champion, and his relay partner Natalya Coyle went one better than last year to take gold for Ireland,” said James McCarthy, CEO of Nissan Ireland.
“These young athletes are tremendous ambassadors for Ireland and Nissan. They are competing and winning at the highest level of their sport. Their determination to make their mark on the world stage epitomises what the Nissan Generation Next ambassador programme is all about,” he added.
Rowers Paul and Gary produced a stunning performance in the final of the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls at the European Rowing Championships in Brandenburg in Germany to take gold with a time of 6:57.76 ahead of Germany and Norway.
“We knew we had great speed and we backed ourselves to win. It was windy on the day. It was just like rowing at home and those conditions played into our hands. We went a bit earlier with our sprint this time and it paid off,” said Paul O’Donovan of the duo’s winning race.
The success achieved by Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe and his relay partner Natalya Coyle was an especially satisfying triumph having been beaten to gold in the 2015 World Cup Final by Belarus who were made to settle for silver this time round.
“I train closely with Natalya all year round so it’s great to compete together and we are a great team. Wherever one of us has a shortfall, the other seems to find an answer. So it’s a great event for us,” said Arthur from the winner’s podium in Sarasota, Florida.
Nissan has supported all three athletes for almost a year, supplying each of them with the award winning Nissan Qashqai as Nissan Generation Next ambassadors.