Historic Olympian Bows Out

Belfast’s Lisa Kearney, who, in 2012, became the first Irish female judoka to represent Ireland in an Olympic Games, has just announced her retirement.

She was also a Commonwealth bronze medallist (52kg) in 2014 but a knee injury in 2015 dashed her hopes of qualifying for Rio. The 28-year-old won 11 World Cup medals during her career, including four gold.

Kearney bade farewell by thanking her coach Ciaran Ward, the Olympic Council of Ireland, Sport Ireland and the Sports Council of Northern Ireland for their support.

She said: “The past 20 years have been an incredible journey and one that was made possible by the people around me. I hope to take the lessons I have learned to future generations within and beyond sporting circles. I am passionate about giving back to society and helping others become their best self because this is what I have been given.”

Another Ulster Olympian to recently retire was Irish hockey striker Mikie Watt who scored 57 goals and won 201 caps in his long international career which included the Rio Olympics.

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