This evening’s weekly update includes highlights of upcoming events for both our Tokyo 2020 athletes and our Beijing 2022 athletes. You will also note that this week we have updated the number of athletes who have achieved qualifying times or spots in the Tokyo Olympics to reflect the changes to the Swim Ireland policy. This change has increased the number of qualified athletes for Tokyo to 54 athlete spots. The Tokyo Olympic qualification status of the athletes can be found AT THIS LINK which will be regularly updated.
All sports are at different stages within the qualification process; for some the qualification cycle is complete (Hockey, Equestrian, Cycling), and for others the process is ongoing. Some sports like Athletics, Rugby 7s and Judo will have qualification events right up until late June/early July. Over the coming weeks and months, we will flag some of these key qualification events in advance of the competition, with the collaboration of the various National Governing Bodies.
OLYMPIC FEDERATION OF IRELAND UPDATES
At the end of last week we issued a statement HERE where we emphasised that based on the regular updates from the IOC that we believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will take place, noting that they will look very different.
Spearheaded by the OFI President, Sarah Keane, the European Olympic Committees last November voted for A MINIMUM OF 30% GENDER BALANCE and this week, they published their new election procedure.
David Harte, member of the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission, was selected as one of twenty Olympians to become a qualified assessor in the World Academy of Sport’s Athlete Friendly Education Centre, which will see him play a role in helping athletes balance competitive sport and education by working with schools around the world in supporting athletes.
Last weekend Team Ireland lost one of the top boxers of his time, Harry Perry, who competed in the Olympic Games in 1956 and 1960. May he rest in peace.
Canoe Slalom C1 athlete, Liam Jegou is currently the only officially selected member of Team Ireland in Tokyo 2020. He is currently on a training camp in Réunion, a French territory island in the Indian ocean, for a warm weather training camp. All other Tokyo hopefuls are in the midst of intense winter training, aiming for a peak at the final qualification regatta in May.
Congratulations to Billy Kennedy on receiving an Honorary Life Membership of Cycling Ireland based in part on his commitment to the Olympic movement, where he held many posts, including most recently Honorary Treasurer of the OFI.
Last weekend Dressage rider Anna Merveldt and Esporim finished ninth in the FEI World Cup Freestyle Grand Prix at Salzburg in Austria, and in doing so went a step closer to qualifying for the FEI World Cup Dressage Finals. Tokyo will be a historic Games for Team Ireland equestrian, with three teams qualified, Dressage, Eventing and Show Jumping.
Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy finished fifth in the Lanzarote Regatta today, at the end of the ten day Lanzarote Winter Series Regatta. For much of the regatta she sat in second place, before dropping to the eventual fifth spot. Eve McMahon was also competing, where she was 24th in the 40 boat fleet.
After a year of COVID-19 related upheaval, Swim Ireland has updated their Olympic Nomination Policy to give additional opportunity to athletes to meet the qualification standards. The changes to the policy provide for swimmers who have already achieved an Olympic Qualification Time to be pre-selected and for those that do not meet the qualification time at the Irish Olympic Trials in April (20th – 24th) to qualify at a nominated meet in June. This means that Darragh Greene and Shane Ryan can be considered for nomination to the Olympic Federation of Ireland for consideration for selection on the team.
On the 4th February 2021 it will be exactly one year to go until the Winter Olympics in Beijing 2021, and for Team Ireland athletes targeting qualification, competition is underway across the sports.
Last weekend ice skater Liam O’Brien made his ISU Championship debut for Ireland at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland where he was 25th in what was the highest finish ever for an Irish skater at this event.
Elsa Desmond competed at the Nations Cup in Innsbruck, Austria on 22 January. Following a challenging week of training, she finished in a respectable 34th place. Problems in the bottom section of the track cost her precious time and places. Speaking after the race Elsa said "I have learned a lot this week, can't wait to race again next week in the World Championships."
Up next are the FIL World Championships in Königssee, Germany - 29-30 January. You can follow the action here:
Our winter sports are in the height of their competition at the moment. Below is an outline of some of the upcoming competitions for our Beijing hopefuls this weekend:
Maggie Rose Carrigan (Snowboard):
World Cups: Moscow RUS - 30th January - PSL and Bannoye RUS - 6/7th February PSL/PGS
Thomas Maloney Westgaard (Cross Country Skiing):
World Cup: Falun SWE - 29 -31st January
Alec Scott (Alpine Skiing):
Europa Cups: Folgaria ITA 2/3rd February and Berchtesgaden GER 6/7th February.
Tess Arbez (Alpine Skiing):
Les Gets FRA 28th January and St. Jean d Aulps FRA 1/2nd February.
Will continue training this week and he next competitions will be early February. Last week he improved his GS points by 20.
Seamus O'Connor (Snowboard)
Competed on 23rd January in World Cup (Halfpipe) in LAAX SUI - he came 14th position overall.