Three-time Olympic rower Niall O'Toole has emphatically proclaimed Ireland's Paul O'Donovan as the best in the world, adding the he and Fintan McCarthy will have far too much for their opponents in the lightweight double sculls at Tokyo 2020.
O'Donovan claimed silver alongside his brother Gary at Rio 2016, before going on to win singles gold at the world championships just two weeks later. In total, the 27-year-old has four world championship gold medals to his name, two apiece in lightweight single and double sculls.
He will take to the water in the early hours of Saturday morning alongside his new partner Fintan McCarthy, with the pair set to be Ireland's strongest medal prospect at Tokyo 2020.
Joining Ger Gilroy on OTB's The Olympics Show, three time rowing Olympian Niall O'Toole said O'Donovan has become untouchable on the world stage.
"Paul is a phenomenon, one in a million. Paul can go straight from a double and go into a single scull and win the world championships. He is just a phenomenal athlete, mentally, physically, he is the complete article.
"Pound for pound the best rower in the world - by far - in my opinion. He's just so far ahead of everyone else, it's just hard to fathom. It really is, it truly is," he said.
"It's very hard to compare him with anything or even talk about his mentality because it is absolutely so unique. He seems to be able to jump in - with great respects to Fintan McCarthy - with anybody and make the boat special. He just doesn't let up, he will go, and go, and go and there is nobody to match him in the world," O'Toole added.
Naturally, O'Toole said he was extremely confident of the pair's potential gold medal, to the extent that they are possibly good enough to win even if they aren't at their best.
"Fintan and Paul, they've beaten everybody. Some of the difficulties with Covid is that none of the Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, or Americans came to Europe, so you're kind of racing them blind.
"This isn't a problem for Fintan or Paul. The Australians and New Zealanders didn't qualify a boat, the Canadians won't do anything, the Americans don't have a boat.
"It's all there for them to take it. They are miles ahead of everybody. When I say that in terms of miles, I mean two seconds (laughs!), so that's a big distance in rowing.
"I'm being flippant, but the boys can make a mistake and still win is the point, and they can have an off-day and still win the gold medal."
Indeed are proud to support Team Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Indeed believes the world works better when people are given every opportunity to unleash their true talents. #TalentUnleashed