Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle won silver in the Men's Double Sculls at the World Championships in Austria this afternoon as Sanita Puspure successfully retained her gold medal.

Defending champion Puspure had a slow start in the women's single sculls final, third behind New Zealand's Emma Twigg and Great Britain's Vicky Thornley in the early stages but overtook Thornley and began to close on 2014 World Champion Twigg - 10 metres behind after 800 metres.

Twigg maintained her lead heading into the final 500m but it was reduced to six metres as Puspure's power began to tell.

The Latvian-born rower now living in Cork has opened up a five-metre lead within seconds and was comfortable at the finish to successfully defend her title.

Puspure won by over three seconds, finishing in 7:17.140, ahead of Twigg's 7:20.560.

"I am not going to lie, I was really nervous," Puspure, who missed a chunk of the summer due to illness and the death of her sister, told RTÉ Sport.

"It is almost like starting the season from scratch but we had a really good training camp."

She added: "This race, I was quite emotionally charged for it because I wanted to do it for my family, my mum, she needed something nice after what happened to us this summer. I hope my sister is proud of me as well, watching from above."

Byrne and Doyle had already qualified for the Olympics with their semi-final result and finished narrowly second behind China, with Poland taking bronze.

The Irish pair were close to catching the Chinese at the line, finishing just over a half a second down. Byrne and Doyle clocked 6:06.250 compared to the winners' 6:05.680.

It was the first Irish medal in a men's sculling World Championship event since 1975.

These results follows on from the gold medals won by Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy in the Lightweight Men's Double on Saturday.

The Chinese crew set a blistering pace from the off, opening an eight-metre lead over the Polish team at the halfway mark.

Byrne and Doyle were in fourth from early in the proceedings and battled for bronze spot with the Swiss from 1300 metres.

However the Poles and Swiss faded slightly in the closing stages

Doyle and Byrne are now fully focussed on the Olympics in Tokyo next summer.

"The same result or better at the Olympics," said Byrne when asked by RTE Sport for their Games target. 

"Change the colour of the medal,change it up," added Doyle.

"We pride ourselves on aiming for the top. Qualifying the Olympics, we said before we even came here that would be satisfactory but it is not what we wanted to do. we are aiming for number one."