Paul O’Donovan has powered into the final of the lightweight sculls at the U23 World Rowing Championship, winning his semi-final in Rotterdam.

Fresh from claiming an Olympic silver medal alongside his brother Gary in the lightweight double sculls, Paul looks eager to add to his medal haul and stormed home to book his place in Saturday’s final.

The Skibbereen rower got off to a sluggish start and was last at the 500m mark but had improved to fourth place by the halfway stage.

O’Donovan powered through the next 500m, increasing his rate to 38 strokes per minute and was up to second place as he hunted down the Slovakian leader Rajko Hrvat.

In the final stages, O’Donovan really turned up the speed, getting up to 42 strokes a minute as he overtook Hrvat to finish in a time of six minutes 51.71 seconds, a 3.5-second improvement on his quarter-final time as he retained his unbeaten record at the regatta.

Hrvat finished second in a time of 6:52.31, with Germany’s Konstantin Steinhubel claiming third place and the last qualifying spot for the final after clocking 6:52.32.