Top Irish golf prospect Olivia Mehaffey and World Youth Olympic canoe Medallist Robert Hendrick inspired by their experiences at the Nanjing Youth Olympics in 2014 have made significant progress in recent weeks.
Mehaffey defied harsh conditions at one of golf’s toughest courses, Royal Troon, and collected the most prestigious prize yet in her career, the Helen Holm Trophy.
Mehaffey, 17, completed a sensational hat-trick of victories at the Irish Girls Championship last week, but winning the Scottish Open Stroke Play title propels her into a new dimension.
The Royal Co Down Ladies member makes no secret of her ambition one day to be women’s World No 1.
The class and patience she displayed on the Ayrshire coast strongly suggests this is no pipe dream. “The last six holes were brutal but I am delighted,” Mehaffey said after signing for the three-over-par 75 that left her on four-over for 54 holes, one clear of Anais Meyssonnier of France (78), with 15-year-old Scot Shannon McWilliam (79) two back in third.
“This is my first senior international (title) and definitely the best thing I’ve won so far,” added Mehaffey, currently studying Sports Science in Newry but scheduled to take up a US golf scholarship at Arizona State. Castletroy’s Chloe Ryan tied 10th on 11-over after a closing 78.
Meanwhile in Canoeing the Irish Junior C2 crew of twin brothers Noel and Robert Hendrick narrowly missed a podium finish when they placed fourth behind the French, Czech and German pairings in the final of the Junior / U23 World Championships in Foz do Iguassu, Brazil.
This was a great result for the crew from Ribbontail Canoe Club in Enfield and their best performance ever at this level of competition. They were the last of the Irish participants in the Championships which were held over three days and which produced semi-final placings for Irish team members in C1 Men U23 (Jake Cochrane), C1 Junior (Robert Hendrick), K1 Women U23 (Aisling Conlan) and K1 Men Junior (Noel Hendrick). The Hendrick brothers will hope to go at least one place better when they face these crews again in the Junior Europeans in Krakow, Poland next August.
OCI CEO Stephen Martin said, our “Chef de Mission Martin Burke and National Federation performance support personnel work very closely with each other to ensure athletes have a positive performance experience at European Youth and Youth Olympic Games- one that can inspire them to focus and work on areas of their profile that can help them achieve their future goals. Youth Olympics are a great learning experience when managed well”.