Funds raised through the Make A Difference Athletes’ Fund will be distributed directly as athlete grants

The Olympic Federation of Ireland is today hosting an inaugural golf tournament at the K Club in Co. Kildare, to raise money for the Make A Difference Athletes’ Fund.  Monies raised will be distributed directly back to the athletes through a series of grants which athletes can apply for.

Launched today by Olympic bronze medallist, Aidan Walsh (Boxing), and two-time Olympian, Shane Ryan (Swimming), the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s inaugural golf tournament in aid of the Make A Difference Athletes’ Fund saw 120 participants take to the Palmer South Course at The K Club. Participants included Shane Ryan and Olympic silver medallist, sailor Annalise Murphy, while boxer Aidan Walsh – who returned home with a bronze medal from last summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games – will be the keynote speaker at the post-golf dinner later this evening.

Shane Ryan (Swimming) Photo: Sam Barnes

For Olympic athletes, the journey to each Games involves a constant quest for marginal gains across all areas to make sure that no stone is unturned in their pursuit of excellence. However, significant investment is required, both from a time and financial perspective, to reach their goals, from training camps to nutrition and coaching, to travel and competitions. For some elite athletes, the competition season spans almost 12 months, with much of that time spent overseas, training and competing with other athletes and coaches in order to achieve their best.

29 September 2022; Olympian Sonia O’Sullivan, right, plays a shot watched by fellow Olympians Nicci Daly and Annalise Murphy and OFI chief executive Peter Sherrard during their round at the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s inaugural Make A Difference Athletes’ Fund Golf Tournament at The K Club in Kildare.

Financial grants for athletes have a significant impact on their training and development, with many Irish Olympians and Olympic hopefuls putting their lives on hold to represent our country. The Make A Difference Athletes’ Fund is just one example of the many supports and initiatives organised by the OFI for the development of both current and future members of Team Ireland, and a clear example of the important work carried out by the Federation between Olympic cycles. To date, these funds have assisted athletes in their preparation for events, from fine-tuning performance with the use of technology including wind tunnels and gait analysis, to contributing to coaching support.

Chair of the event, Eamonn Coghlan, was joined today by a host of Irish Olympians, dignitaries from across the Irish sporting and sponsorship spheres, alongside partners and friends of the Irish Olympic Family at the iconic Kildare venue, as they came together to get behind the Make A Difference Athletes’ Fund – a fund which will be a key support for many athletes on the road to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

Speaking at today’s event, Catherine Tiernan, Commercial Director at the Olympic Federation of Ireland, said: “The Olympic Federation of Ireland is delighted to be hosting the inaugural golf tournament in support of the ‘Make A Difference Athletes’ Fund, at the iconic setting here at the K Club. We understand the financial pressure that athletes are under as they strive for excellence and know that the funds raised today will play a vital role both in the future of Irish sport across competitions and in the preparation needed to optimise our performance at the highest levels.”

Two-time Olympian, Shane Ryan, said: “The experience of training for an Olympic Games is both extremely tough and immensely rewarding. Without the supports and initiatives provided by the Olympic Federation of Ireland, athlete preparation for competition becomes that bit harder. Grants such as this will go a long way to supporting athlete development, enabling us to continue to compete at the highest level.”

Olympic bronze medallist, Aidan Walsh, said: “After the excitement of the Tokyo Games, all focus is now on Paris 2024, as we aim to go bigger and better than ever before. Initiatives like the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s Make A Difference Athletes’ Fund are critical for athletes targeting a Games in the coming years, providing opportunities for development and growth as we all work towards the pinnacle of an Olympic Games.”

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