22 January 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Sports news this January 2021
Double World and European Rowing Champion Sanita Pušpure has been chosen as Cork Person of the Year for 2020. Sanita was chosen from the 12 Cork Persons’ of the Month picked over last year. She is also considered a favourite to take Gold in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
The thirty nine year old Latvian-born Irish National lives in Ballincollig with her husband Kaspar and their children Patrick and Daniela. She is also a past winner of The Irish Times/Sports Ireland’s ‘Sports Woman of the Year’ award.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said, “As Lord Mayor of Cork, I was delighted to launch the Cork Person of the Year award scheme with Manus O’Callaghan in 1993.
At the time Manus spoke about coming from an Ireland of “spare the rod and spoil the child” and instead he wanted to move to a country of “find the good and praise”. Over the last 27 years, this award scheme has certainly done that. It has been my great pleasure to continue my involvement with these awards over the years and indeed I was due to speak at the awards lunch again this January, until its unavoidable cancellation due to Covid-19.
The nominees and indeed the winners of this award over the years are people who epitomise all that is good and cherished in our communities. All of them people who are valued for what they contribute and have succeeded in achieving in society weather in Arts & Culture, Charity and Volunteerism, Enterprise, or Sport to name a few. The Cork Person of the Year Award allows us to recognise them appropriately and I wish to acknowledge this year’s nominees.
In particular, I wish to congratulate the 2020 winner – World & European Rowing Champion, Sanita Pušpure. Sanita’s sporting accomplishments are a mark of her talent, determination and dedication to her sport. She is an inspiration to the many young people within her own sport of Rowing and beyond. She is a worthy winner of this award and I wish her continued success.
I also wish to thank the organisers and sponsors of this excellent awards initiative, which continues to celebrate Cork’s greatest asset, its people.”
Cork Lord Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh and the Mayor of Cork County Cllr Mary Linehan Foley sent their congratulations and wished the single sculls rowing champion every success in the year ahead.
Sanita Pušpure came to Ireland from Latvia in 2006 and became an Irish citizen in 2011. She has been a member of Irish rowing teams for many years and trains at the National Rowing Centre, Farran Woods, Cork. Award Judges Tim Lucey, Chief Executive of Cork County Council and Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council chose Sanita as Cork Person of the Year from the following Cork Persons’ of the Month:
- January: Sarah Greene, International Actor.
- February: Colm O’Callaghan & Martin O’Connor. Online Music Resource.
- March: Sanita Puspure. World Rowing Champion.
- April: Kate Durrant. Ireland’s Top Community Activist.
- May: Pat McCluskey. Nurse with International Reputation.
- June: Peadar O’Riada. Composer and Musician.
- July: Sean O’Driscoll & John Field. Ludgate Job Creation Success.
- August: Fiona Clark & Jim Mountjoy. Film Festival and Jazz Festival Successes.
- September: Izzeddeen and wife Eman Alkarajeh. From Direct Provision to Cork Food Success.
- October: William Wall & Tadhg Coakley. Award Winning Authors.
- November Paul Sheridan. Cyclist and organiser of Tour De Munster charity cycle for 20+years.
- December: Elmarie Mawe & Conor Tallon. For Their Support of the Local Arts Scene.
This January will be the 28th year of this awards scheme, launched by the then Lord Mayor of Cork Micheál Martin TD back in 1993.
The first winner of the Cork Person of Year title was Sr Colette Hickey of Edel House, Grattan St., Cork City, which cares for homeless women and children. Sr Colette celebrates her 103rd birthday this month and still remembers fondly when then Taoiseach Albert Reynolds presented her with the award that year. In fact, Albert Reynolds flew from London to Cork on the day, as he had just signed the Downing Street Agreement. Sr Colette sent her congratulations to the newest Cork Person of the Year Sanita and wished her well in the Olympics.
“The Person of the Year Gala Awards Lunch, where the Cork Person of Year is usually announced, had to be cancelled this January due to COVID restrictions but will return in January 2022 at the Rochestown Park Hotel,” said awards founder and organiser Manus O’Callaghan..
Award Sponsors and Organisers are John Lehane, Lexus Cork; Ann-Marie O’Sullivan, AM O’Sullivan PR; Karen O’Donoghue, Irish Examiner/The Echo; Pat Lemasney, Southern; Tony O’Connell Photography; George Duggan, Cork Crystal; Thomas Morrissey, CAVS; Manus O’Callaghan Awards Founder & Organiser.