Olympic Sport Weekly Update 30 April 2021

Thanks to the marathon run of Aoife Cooke – the number of guaranteed quota spots for Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics has risen to 59 athletes, and this week will see several more opportunities for athletes to achieve Olympic qualification spots – in athletics the top 8 teams in the World Athletics Relay will achieve an Olympic spot, and in diving there are opportunities at the final FINA Diving World Cup.

These highlights and more are detailed below, alongside team announcements and dates for upcoming events across the sports, as well as some key messages from the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

As a reminder, the current status of Team Ireland for the Tokyo Olympics is 59 guaranteed athletes travelling to the Games, with many more sitting within qualification. The full details of the team can be found AT THIS LINK.

OLYMPIC FEDERATION OF IRELAND UPDATES

Today marked the final day of Active Schools Week, where we joined up with Active Schools Flag with our Olympians providing challenges to school children, with the collaboration of RTÉ with the video challenges from last year’s RTÉ Home School Hub. The feedback was fantastic, with students posting updates on social media throughout the week. This initiative served as an ideal warm up for Team Ireland as the Olympic Schools Challenge Road to Tokyo officially kicks off next week. So far over 900 schools, with approximately 25,000 children have already signed up to the challenge, which is supported by FBD Insurance. 

On Wednesday the first of version two of the stakeholder Playbooks were released. These playbooks outline the framework of how the Games will operate while adhering closely to health and safety measures. Athletes and Staff will be asked to provide two negative Covid tests in the 96 hours before travelling and will be tested daily. Some of the main points are included here.

TOKYO SPORTS

Athletics

Aoife Cooke has achieved the Olympic Standard in the Women’s Marathon competing at the Cheshire elite marathon. Her time of 2.28.30 performance was inside the marathon standard of 2.29.30. Ireland can send up to three competitors in the marathon for each gender, and Aoife Cooke joins Fionnuala McCormack in achieving the standard. Anne McGlynn was just 4 seconds outside the required time.

A top 8 finish for either of the two Irish teams competing at the World Athletics Relays Silesia21 are guaranteed an Olympic spot. The competition is held in Poland on May 1st - May 2nd.

This week we updated our athletics ranking in our status document – this is constantly updating, and one of the big movers into ranking this week is Kate O’Connor in the heptathlon.

Badminton

The Irish Mixed Double of Chloe and Sam Magee have put themselves in with a fighting chance of a medal by reaching the quarter finals at the 2021 European Championships in Ukraine. They face the number one seeds, England, tomorrow. Nhat Nguyen lost out in his last 16 match to the number four seed, Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark. Read more HERE and follow Badminton Ireland on twitter for all updates.

Canoeing

The Irish Canoe Slalom team has been announced ahead of the Senior European Championships in Ivrea, Italy, from the 6-9 May.

Diving

The FINA Diving World Cup takes place in Tokyo, Japan from May 1st to 5th with four athletes arriving today. Over the course of the week Oliver Dingley (3M Springboard), Clare Cryan (3M Springboard), Ciara McGing (Platform) and Tanya Watson (Platform) will all compete for Olympic Qualification places with full details and schedule HERE.

Equestrian

Last weekend was an important one for the Irish Eventing Team, with many of the Irish Olympic shortlisted riders attending the Ballindenisk International in Co. Cork.

The CC14*-S competition saw three of Ireland’s silver medal winning team from the 2018 World Championships finish in the top three places, with Sarah Ennis and The Irish Sport Horse Horseware Stellor Rebound claiming the overall victory.

Gymnastics

Rhys McClenaghan finished fifth in the Pommel Horse at the 2021 European Gymnastics Championships with a score of 13.566 after an unlucky fall while debuting an upgraded routine in the final. He had qualified with the top score, in the event where Ireland saw Emma Slevin and Adam Steele become Ireland’s first ever finalists in the senior All-Around at the European Championships.  

Hockey

Irish women are currently in Bisham Abbey competing in an Uncapped Series against Great Britain. Team Captain Katie Mullan discusses the upcoming summer of international hockey here.  

Yesterday also saw the re-signing of the agreement with Iwate Town, which will be the host city for the Irish Hockey team before they compete in Tokyo.

Sailing

Last weekend the Irish Sailors finished competition in Portugal, where the men’s Laser missed out on an Olympic qualification spot. In the Laser Radial Annalise Murphy turned around what had been a disappointing first few days to deliver four consecutive race win ‘bullets’ in the Radial Silver fleet to win the classification.

Swimming

Last week the cream of Irish swimming gathered at the National Aquatic Centre, where the Irish National Team Trials took place – both Danielle Hill and Daniel Wiffen produced top performances, breaking national records in the closing day. During the week both Wiffen and Mona McSharry achieved the FINA A Standard, joining Darragh Greene and Shane Ryan in the list of athletes who have achieved an Olympic qualifying team.

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