The Olympic Federation of Ireland is saddened to learn of the passing of Olympian Tom O'Riordan, who competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games for Ireland in the 5000m.

Tommo, as he was known to athletes, was not only a hugely successful athlete, he was one of Ireland's most respected sports journalists for many years, and covered many Olympic Games as a member of the press.

The cross country specialist was the holder of 14 National Records (4 x 3000m, 4 x 2 miles, 4 x 3 miles, 2 x 5000m) and was the first Irish athlete to break 14 minutes in the 5000m.

He held 18 Individual Senior titles, and competed for Donore Harriers, and had 21 international caps for Ireland.

His loss will be felt right across the athletics and sports community, and the OFI send heartfelt condolences to his family and friends, and in particular sympathy and thoughts are with his son Ian O'Riordan, who is also one of Ireland's leading sports journalists, and has carried on his father's legacy by covering many Olympic Games for the Irish Times.

Remembering his father, Ian penned a tribute to the Tokyo Games, 2020 and 1964, which was included in the Team Ireland commemorative guide for athletes.

Tokyo 2020 Revisited - READ MORE HERE.

The 1964 Olympic Games tribute in the Irish Times in July 2020 recounts that Olympic Games race for Tom O'Riordan - READ MORE HERE.

Ar dheis Dé go Raibh a Anam

In interview with Frank Greally:

Rowing Ireland had eight crews racing in the heats at World Cup II in Poznan. Five of the crews qualified directly to the A/B Semi-Final, the two PR2 crews go straight to the A finals from their test races and one crew will compete in the Repechage on Saturday morning.

The first Irish crew at the start line was the W2- yesterday evening for their heat. The crew came third in their heat and with only one crew to qualify straight to the A Final, they'll be racing in the Repechage tomorrow morning. The pair of Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty is a new combination, however they have some experience rowing together as they raced alongside each other in the W4- at the Tokyo Olympics, coming home with the bronze medal.

Next up was the PR2 Mix2x of Katie O'Brien and Steven McGowan. Their first competition was last month at the International Para Rowing Regatta in Gavirate, where the crew came 4th in the Final. The test race this morning showed great racing with all crews within eight seconds of each other. The A Final will go ahead on Sunday, where the Galway RC crew can try improve their 4th place test race finish. Katie was kept on her toes today racing the PR2 W1x later in the afternoon. With a commanding lead, Katie finished first in the test race and will race again tomorrow in the A Final. Having won the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships we'll be looking forward to hopefully seeing Katie on the podium again.

Both Fintan McCarthy and Gary O'Donovan raced the LM1x this morning. With very strong racing in their heats, the two rowers from Skibbereen qualified straight through to the A/B Semi with Fintan winning his heat and Gary placing second. We will see them race again tomorrow where they will be looking to try make it into the A Final.

Another new combination in the Irish crews was the W4- of Eimear Lambe, Tara Hanlon, Aifric Keogh and Natalie Long. Even with the new 4- combination, all athletes are well established with Eimear and Aifric being part of the bronze medal Olympic 4-, Tara competing at a number of World Rowing events from Junior through to Senior level and qualifying as the Olympic spare last year, and Natalie who has also competed internationally over the last number of years, as well as placing 4th at the World Coastal Championships last year in the Women's Quad. The crew finished second in their heat and are straight through to the A/B Semi tomorrow morning.

The final two Irish crews were the W2x of Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde, and the LW2x of Margaret Cremen and Lydia Heaphy. Both crews qualified straight into their A/B Semis with the W2x winning their heat and the LW2x coming in with a very close second place. Having previously been used to seeing Sanita race in her single, she has gained a double partner, Zoe who was also in the Women's Quad with Natalie Long that placed 4th at the World Coastal Championships in Portugal last year.

Provisional Saturday Race Schedule (IST)

Friday Results

Follow the Racing

You can follow the racing on World Rowing’s website, www.worldrowing.com

Live Streaming will be available on Sunday for the Finals.

Five Uncapped Players Set To Make Debut in a Fresh Faced Side 

The Ireland Women Hockey coach, Sean Dancer has named his panel for July’s World Cup campaign which gets under way on July 2nd at Amsterdam’s Wagener Stadium.

It is a fresh-faced side with five uncapped players set to make their official debuts in the competition as the post-Olympic evolution of the Green Army continues apace.

Irish Under-21 captain Caoimhe Perdue, Christina Hamill and Siofra O’Brien all starred in the Junior World Cup in April and impressed - alongside Katie McKee and Charlotte Beggs - in recent challenge matches against Scotland and in Japan to land their place in the line-up.

At the other end of the spectrum, the side features five players from the groundbreaking 2018 run to the World Cup final with Katie Mullan reprising her role as captain.

Ayeisha McFerran was named goalkeeper of the tournament in London and they are among the leaders in the group along with Lena Tice, Róisín Upton and Deirdre Duke. 

“The team are excited about our progress and the opportunities that lie ahead over the next month, and know that anything is possible at a World Cup,” Dancer said of the selection.

“Our entire group, players and staff have been working extremely hard over the last month, on the basics that a new group has to do. This has been a tough but a very enjoyable period.”

Ireland start off on July 2nd against the hosts and current world number one side, the Netherlands, with the 9,500-strong venue already sold out. 

Next on the agenda is a July 5th date against tournament debutantes Chile (world rank: 17) before concluding the group stage on July 6th against Germany (world rank: 5).

Top spot in the group advances direct to the quarter-final stage with the second and third place nations, facing an extra game to reach that stage in the crossover playoffs. Fourth in the group will go into the 9th to 16th place playoffs.

Ireland’s initial run of fixtures take place in Amsterdam and if they can emulate their 2018 run, the semi-final and final will be played in Terrassa, Spain.

“The World Cup is always a tough tournament but what a great challenge to be playing the best team in the World, 1st game up, in front of their home crowd,” Dancer added.

“We have set our sights firmly on a positive result versus Chile, and will approach the playoff games day by day, when we get to that point. 

“We are very grateful for the continuous support from our sponsors SoftCo, Park Developments and Saba along with Sport Ireland and Sport NI as well as and the hockey community. We would simply not be able to do without.”

The side conclude their preparations for the World Cup at Belfield this week with the SoftCo Series with Ireland taking on Japan four times. The first game is on Saturday, June 18th (4pm) with the subsequent games on Sunday, June 19th (4pm), Wednesday, June 22nd (5pm) and Thursday, June 23rd (7pm).

The series runs parallel to the Uniphar Under-23 Five Nations tournament with all tickets available via the Hockey Ireland website (https://hockey.ie/buy-tickets/)

Ireland senior women’s team for the World Cup; July 1st to 17th in Amsterdam, Netherlands and Terrassa, Spain (club, caps):

Ayeisha McFerran (goalkeeper, SV Kampong (NED), 113)

Elizabeth Murphy (goalkeeper, Loreto, 13)

Caoimhe Perdue (UCC, 0)

Charlotte Beggs (Ulster Elks, 0)

Christina Hamill (Loreto, 0)

Deirdre Duke (Old Alex, 154 )

Ellen Curran (Pembroke, 27)

Erin Getty (Queen’s, 11)

Hannah McLoughlin (UCD, 26)

Katie McKee (Pegasus, 0)

Katie Mullan (captain, Ballymoney, 206)

Lena Tice (Old Alex, 122)

Michelle Carey (UCD, 10)

Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute, 121)

Roisin Upton (vice-captain, Catholic Institute, 89)

Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union, 46)

Sarah McAuley (UCD, 9)

Sarah Torrans (Loreto, 33)

Siofra O’Brien (Loreto, 0)

Zara Malseed (Ards, 7)

Group A schedule (all at Wagener Stadium, Amsterdam; times IRISH)

July 2nd: Ireland v Netherlands, 6.30pm 

July 5th: Ireland v Chile, 1pm

July 6th: Ireland v Germany, 3.30pm

** Tickets for Ireland vs Japan can be bought here: [https://hockey.ie/buy-tickets/]

Marking the recent 100th staging of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) track and field championships, Ronnie Delany was one of 30 past winners to be inducted to the inaugural Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame.

The Irish Olympic Champion's name stands strong alongside global stars such as Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Jim Ryun, Henry Rono, Steve Prefontaine, Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner and Merlene Ottey, in an honour befitting one of Ireland's most decorated and loved athletes.

Each of the 30 names were chosen solely on their accomplishments while a collegiate athlete: between them they won 205 individual NCAA titles, also breaking 99 world records or winning 19 Olympic gold medals, in or out of college.

Delany’s NCAA career was indeed stellar, winning four individual outdoor titles during his four years at Villanova University from 1955-58, during which time he also won Olympic 1,500 metres gold in Melbourne 1956. In his final year he completed an 880 yard/mile double, after winning the mile and finishing second in the 880 yard in 1957: those points helped secure Villanova their first and only NCAA outdoor team title.

“My favourite memory of the NCAA championships, well obviously the first one, but it was great to win the mile and half-mile double,” Delany told the Eugene audience from his home in Dublin. “Especially when maybe you got a half-hour between races, and in those days you know nothing about dehydration, rehydration, it was win or bust.”

Marcus O’Sullivan, current head track and field coach at Villanova, collected the award on Delany’s behalf, his best NCAA placing being second in the 1,500m in 1984. O’Sullivan is not alone in being one of Ireland’s best athletes to fall short of an outdoor title, John Treacy, Noel Carroll and Mark Carroll among them too.

Words from the Irish Times article HERE

Watch the ceremony and read the Villanova report HERE.

Dare to Believe ambassador and Tokyo Olympic Bronze Medallist Eimear Lambe understands the importance of having role models. The Dublin rower who became an Olympic medallist in Tokyo when she finished third in the final of the Women's Four with teammates Aifric Keogh, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty, explains how there is no one way to win a medal, and how a role model can come in many forms.

"Growing up I was constantly comparing myself to other amazing athletes, and I had them on pedestals and I would consider them these infallible people."

"But I think what's really important for people to see is that ordinary people really can do extraordinary things."

Eimear Lambe, Olympic Medallist

The Dare to Believe schools programme is sponsored by Team Ireland sponsor Permanent TSB, and a key element of the programme is athletes telling their story to school children.

"So I feel like having the opportunity to come to a school and just tell my story and let people know there are ups and downs to it. I wasn't born this big athlete, it took a long journey. Hopefully they can find inspiration in it, and see that maybe their path isn't as straightforward as they hoped it would be, but it doesn't mean they can't do amazing things."

To find out more about the programme head to www.daretobelieve.ie where teachers can register for the programme which is delivered in both primary and secondary schools.

Dickson and Waddilove win silver at sailing World Cup in the Netherlands

49er team Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove have won the medal race and secured a silver medal at the 2022 Hempel World Cup Allianz Regatta in the Netherlands today.

The World Cup saw ten Olympic classes compete in Almere in the southern part of the Ijsselmeer, east of Amsterdam.

Dutch team Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken grabbed gold with one point in the difference. Lambriex and van de Werken have been training partners to Waddilove and Dickson.

Matt McGovern, Irish Sailing 49er coach commented “It’s been a great week here in quite tricky conditions – light and shifty – something that the boys have tried to work on, so fantastic that they’ve put in some of the best days against the whole fleet throughout the week.

It’s been a great week, and finishing off in true style today was definitely a high point – it’s always nice to win a medal race, especially in such great conditions”.

Full results here: here

Rhasidat Adeleke (Athletics)
Rhasidat (who doesn’t turn 20 until August 2022) is from Tallaght and is already blazing a trail for Irish sprinting. In 2018, aged just15, she became the European Youth (U18) 200m champion in Hungary. In 2019 she won double sprint gold at the European Youth Olympics in Baku. In July 2021 she became a double European Junior (U20) champion in Tallinn, setting a new Irish senior 200m record (22:90). She took up a scholarship at the University of Texas in 2021 and, in 2022, has already set the Irish 60m record of 7:19 at the US Collegiate Indoor Championships (NCAAs) where she was fourth in the 200m and eighth in the 60m final. In April , at the Texas A&M meet, Rhasidat lowered the Irish senior 200m record to 22:59 and, in May, in only her second race over 400m, her 50:70 (at the Big 12 Championships) broke Joanne Cuddihy’s 15-year-old Irish 400m record (50:73). Rhasidat will make her senior debut for Ireland this summer at the World Championships in Oregon  (July 15-24) and European Championships in Munich (August15-21).


Nhat Nguyen (Badminton)
Nhat (21), from Clarehall in Dublin, first made his mark by winning the Irish senior title when he was just 16. In 2018 he won bronze at the European Juniors and made the quarter-finals of the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. In 2019 he made the last 16 of the European Games in Minsk. In 2021 he made his Olympic debut in Tokyo where he won his first group game and took 10th seed Wang Tzu Wei (Chinese Taipei) to a third rubber. In December 2021, despite just recovering from pneumonia, he made it to the last 16 of the World Championships in Spain. He reached the quarter-finals of the European Championship in April (beaten by Denmark’s world #3 (15-21, 17-21) and is currently ranked #10 on the World Tour. World Championships (August 21-28, Tokyo) are his next major.

Adam Hession (Boxing)
Adam (21) is a featherweight (57kg) from Galway, a two-time Irish elite champion who, in 2019, became the first male boxer from his club to win an Irish senior title in 2019. He is from the village of Bullaun and boxes for the Monivea club where his dad is a coach. Adam won a silver medal at last year’s European U22 Championships in Italy and made his international senior debut at the 2021 World Championships in Bulgaria last October where he was regarded as unlucky not to get the decision against a Russian. He has been part of the IABA’s High Performance team since 2019 and captained the Irish team at the recent European Championships in Armenia.

Daina Moorehouse (Boxing)
Daina (20) is from Bray and competes for Enniskerry BC. The Wicklow southpaw was a European Junior (U16) and Youth (U18) champion (in 2017) at 48kg before she’d even sat her Junior Cert. She captained the Irish team at the 2019 European Championships where she won bronze. In the European U22 Championships in March 2022 she lost to Croatia’s defending European champion and world silver medallist. Daina has won 11 Irish titles (two elites) and has moved up weights to achieve her Olympic dream because 50kg is the lightest category in Paris 2024. She once won a trip to train in Cuba after winning the ‘best boxer’ award in the Golden Girl tournament in Sweden.


Noel Hendrick (Canoeing)
Noel (24) is a slalom canoeist from Kildare club Ribbontail CC. He and his twin Robert  were just pipped for bronze in a C2 boat at the 2015 World Junior Championships. He now specialises in K1 and his big breakthrough was finishing 9th in the European U23s in 2018. In 2021 he came agonisingly close to Olympic qualification; only beaten for the last available spot by one place when finishing 13th at the European Championships. He is coached by Irish Olympian Eoin Rheinisch and is based in Pau, a big French centre for slalom canoeing. He has a degree from Maynooth University and is currently studying for a Masters in computing through DCU.

Lara Gillespie, Team Ireland Paris Scholarship Recipient

Lara Gillespie (Cycling)
Lara (21) is a particularly versatile cyclist from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow. In 2017 she won time trial silver at the Youth Olympics. In 2018 she was a European junior champion (Points) and silver medallist (pursuit). In 2019 she won three track silvers at the European Juniors before becoming Ireland’s first medallist (bronze, individual pursuit) at track’s World Junior Championships. In 2020 she won the Irish senior road title and scratch (track) titles and, in 2021, she won European U23 silver in individual pursuit, her sixth medal at European Championships. Lara studied Health and Performance Science at UCD where she was a recipient of an Ad Astra scholarship (for elite athletes) and, while concentrating on track for Ireland, she competed last year professionally for IBCT,  a Belgian UCI Continental road team. She has successfully transitioned from junior to senior, climbing the podium at senior World Cups, with a bronze medal in the Omnium at the World Cup in St. Petersburg, as well as a gold medal in the Team Pursuit.

Ciara McGing (Diving)
Ciara (21), grew up in London before moving to Dublin to train on the Sport Ireland Campus at 16. Her family hail from both Rathmullan, Co Donegal and Tourmakeady, Co Mayo. She won her first senior Irish title at 17 and represent Ireland at the Junior European championships in Kazan, Russia. After 3 years in Dublin she moved to The Ohio State University in August 2020. In the US she has claimed a medal at the conference championships, made it to the NCAA championships and finished 3rd in Women’s 10m platform at the US Winter National Championships. Ciara narrowly missed out on Tokyo 2020 (finishing 23rd in the World Diving Cup – the top 18 qualified), so has set her sights firmly on Paris 2024. She will be representing Ireland this summer at the World Championships (Hungary) and the European Championships (Italy). Ciara holds the Women’s Irish 10m platform record.


Olivia Mehaffey (Golf)
Oliva (24), from Tandragee, Co Armagh, starred as an amateur (winning the Irish, Scottish and Welsh Opens and ranked # Europe and #5 ) before spending five years at Arizona State University (ASU) whom she helped to a US collegiate title in 2017. After graduating with a Masters in organisational leadership in May 2021 she turned professional but she had a very difficult end to last season as her father died and she subsequently missed her full European tour card (LET) by faltering at the last hole at Q-School. This year she has has conditional status on the LET and on the Epson Tour and is chasing her LPGA tour card. Olivia represented Ireland at the 2014 Youth Olympics and two Curtis Cups (2016 and 2018) and also played for Europe at the junior Solheim Cup in 2015.

Sive Brassil (Modern Pentathlon)
Sive (28) is from Ballinasloe, Co Galway and came to the sport through ‘pony club’. She is the reigning Irish champion and has competed for Ireland since 2008, achieved a handful of top 15 finishes on the World Cup circuit and qualified for the prestigious World Cup finals three times in-a-row (2017-2019) In 2018 she was part of the Irish women’s relay team that won silver at the European Championships and narrowly missed qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (ranked 40th, just outside top 36 who qualified). She has a degree in Spanish and French from UCD and is based in Ireland, training full-time. She finished 13th at the Budapest World Cup in May in pentathlon’s ultra-competitive new ‘elimination’ format and her current world ranking is #28.

Alison Bergin (Rowing)
Alison, who turned 20 in February, is from Kildinan in Cork. She took up rowing in her early teens and competes for Fermoy Rowing Club. In 2020 she was part of the women’s four who finished fifth in the European Junior (Under-19) Championships in Belgrade. In 2021 Alison was one of only two women selected in the Irish team for the World U23 Championships where she came fourth in the heavyweight single sculls semi-finals and finished ninth overall. Alison has been training with Ireland’s elite squad in Inniscarra for several years and is a second-year student at Cork IT (Sport and Exercise Management). The World U23 Championships in Italy in late July are her focus in 2022.

Jake McCarthy (Rowing)
Jake (25) is from Skibbereen and a few minutes older than his twin Fintan with whom he won his first national rowing title (intermediate) in 2016 which also marked the start of his international career. His highlights include 5th in the 2019 European Championships in Lucerne (with Fintan) in the Lightweight Men’s Double, reaching the final of the Lightweight men’s four in the 2018 World Championships in Plovdiv and, as a single sculler, placing 6th in the B Final of the 2019 World Cup in Rotterdam. He returned to competition at ‘Nationals’ last August after losing more than a full year of rowing due to a herniated disc. He has a degree in economics from UCC and is currently doing a Masters in finance assets management. European Championships (Munich, August 11-14) and World Championships (Czech Republic, September 18-5) are his focus this year.

Aoife Hopkins (Sailing)
Aoife (22) is from Howth, has been sailing since she was nine and has been a member of Irish Sailing’s High Performance training group since 2017. She has already taken part in two Olympic qualifying campaigns and Paris 2024 is her next big target. She won the European U21 Laser Radial title in France in 2017 and had one of her most successful results last December, winning the 10th race and finishing 17th overall at the World Championships. Aoife is studying financial maths in UCD where she is a recipient of an Ad Astra scholarship.

Eve McMahon (Sailing)
Teenager Eve, from Howth, won Irish Sailing’s ‘Youth Sailor of the Year’ for the third year running in 2021 and Afloat magazine’s ‘Sailor of the Year’ award, despite her youth. In 2019 she won the World U17 Laser Radial title Last July she won gold at the ILCA 6 (new title for Laser Radial) Youth (U19) World Championships in Italy, followed swiftly by a silver medal at the EURILCA Laser Radial Youth Championships in Croatia. In December she just missed out on another medal, finishing in 4th place at the ILCA6 Youth Sailing World Championships in Oman. She has been training with Olympic medallist Annalise Murphy for the last two years and is sitting her Leaving Cert this summer when she will also defend her World Youth title.

Paddy Johnston (Swimming)
Paddy (20) swims for Ards SC (where his father previously coached him) and is a member of Swim Ireland’s national senior squad. He moved to America to join Cleveland State University in the past year and competes primarily in butterfly but also in 100m backstroke and in 4x100m medley relays. He currently holds all of the national junior (U19) short-course (25m) butterfly records. At the 2021 Irish National Team Trials he won the 200m butterfly (1:58.81) and was runner-up in the 100m fly (53.32), both personal bests.

Jack Woolley, Taekwondo, Team Ireland Paris Scholarship

Jack Woolley (Taekwondo)
Jack (23), from Jobstown (Dublin), first competed at -54kg before moving up to the Olympic -58kg (flyweight) class. When he was aged 17 he was just pipped, in the final qualifier, for a place at the Rio Olympics. In 2019 he was a European silver medallist and ninth in the World Championships. In 2020 he won the US and Sofia Opens and was fifth in the World Grand Prix final and in 2021 he became Ireland’s first taekwondo Olympian, going out in the first round in Tokyo to Argentina’s fifth-placed Luis Guzman. Jack trains full-time in Ireland, is coached by Robert Taaffe and has already won another European silver medal this year (in Manchester, May), pushing defending champion Cyrian Ravet (who had defeated the Olympic champion in his semi-final) the whole way. He is currently #3 in the Olympic and World rankings. Last weekend he was last 16 in the high-ranking Rome Grand Prix (June 3-5) and he has World Championships in Mexico in November.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) Athletes’ Commission is disappointed to learn of the decision by Federation International de Gymnastique (FIG), whereby Northern Irish athletes, including Olympian Rhys McClenaghan, have been informed of their ineligibility to represent Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games later this year and calls for review and reversal of this decision.

Rhys McClenaghan is from Northern Ireland, is the 2018 Commonwealth Games Champion, and competed for Ireland in the Tokyo Olympics.

Besides the relevance of the Good Friday agreement for the people of Northern Ireland, the FIG is out of line with other sports on this matter where athletes from Northern Ireland can choose to represent either Team Ireland or Team GB internationally, as well as representing Northern Ireland at Commonwealth Games. This principle is accepted fully by both Gymnastics Ireland and British Gymnastics as well as the Olympic Federation of Ireland across all sports.

At the heart of FIG, as outlined in their mission statement, is a commitment to upholding and promoting the health and well-being of athletes, and inclusiveness. The OFI Athletes’ Commission is calling on FIG to reverse its decision based on the specific realities of Northern Ireland, and the welfare of the athletes implicated.

From a Vietnamese village to becoming an Olympian and one of Badminton’s brightest stars, Nhat Nguyen knows all about perseverance. We chat to him about family, humility and the power of sport as he sets his eyes on Paris 2024.

“I didn’t have socks,” says Nhat Nguyen, looking off into the middle distance of memory. “I only had like three t-shirts, which I would wear in the week, then just wash them again. I had quite a tough background growing up.”

Struggle defined Nguyen’s early life from the moment he was born in a small village outside Hanoi in the year 2000. With little opportunity available (“I probably would have just been a farmer if we’d stayed,” he chuckles), his parents decided to uproot and move he and his sister to Ireland when he was just six. Their first stop: Belturbet, Cavan.

“All I remember is the people in Cavan were really nice,” he recalls. He and his family were embraced by the community, with his teachers even offering extra lessons in English. Despite the warm welcome, life was tough. His father commuted from Cavan to Dublin to work in a Chinese restaurant while his mother stayed home to look after him and his sister.

https://www.permanenttsb.ie/blog/raised-for-greatness-nhat-nguyen/ for full video

“It makes me the person I am now,” he says reflectively, “so I think I’m quite grounded.” Coming from such humble beginnings, Nguyen is determined to never take anything for granted.

It was Nguyen’s father, in fact, who passed on the Badminton bug to his son while they scraped to establish themselves in Ireland.

“My dad played at a club level in Vietnam, not a high level, but he loved the sport,” he says. With little money or choices, a young Nguyen would tag along on the weekends to watch and play.

“Once [my dad] would go back to Dublin, my Mam would take me to the park and we’d mess around” They even went so far as to make their own court. “My dad painted a court in the carpark. It was quite small, so we had a net going around it. We actually went back to Belturbet once, it was still there.”

“I wasn’t having fun playing Badminton at the start,” he laughs. “I was a lazy kid, I didn’t want to move or to run – I didn’t want to exercise basically. But, again, there was nothing else to do - and it was something to do with my Mam.”

So, what changed?

“I love winning,” he says. “I hate to lose. I’m very competitive. So even though I didn’t enjoy it,” he adds with a chuckle, “I liked to beat my Mam.”

The more opponents Nguyen took on, the more potential he realised he had. It wasn’t long until Nguyen moved away from the carpark (and playing his Mam) onto the National stage.

It didn’t come without its troubles: a teenage Nhat spent years restricted to playing and staying in Ireland as his family’s status as residents was clarified.

“It made me more motivated, to work even harder, to get better,” he recalls. “When they were going away, I was training in Ireland. I would eat, sleep, go to school and train.

“I always knew I would get my Irish passport eventually that I would travel and show the rest of the world my level.”

He did exactly that. In the 2016 European Under-17’s Singles, Nguyen came out on top. Unlike the others competitors, he had never having competed against any of his opponents but Nguyen backed himself from the get go. “I had expectations because I won the Irish Nationals in the same year and I was making good results against older players. I definitely knew I had a chance to medal.” Not only did he medal, he won Gold and finally the international Badminton world knew exactly who he was.  

Nguyen’s positive attitude is key to his success, but he knows he couldn’t have got here without the support of the people around him.

“I’m very grateful to everyone that supports me,” he beams, “I can’t really explain the feeling… even when things go bad, they’ll always be behind you. With Irish people, we’re a small nation but we really get behind our athletes.

“We’re a small nation, but we’re frickin’ loud!”

“Leading up to the games I had great support, I’m from Clarehall, Dublin and the community and the estate where I come from had flags, my picture, my name everywhere.” It’s this kind of support that motivates Nguyen to keep going. But the biggest support of all, comes from his family.

“Without them, I don’t think I’d be the person I am now. Without them, I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t be in Ireland. Without my parents making that risky move, that gamble, to move to Ireland – I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo was one of those proud moments. The qualifications started pre-Covid, in 2019, and Nguyen ranked 25 out of the Top 40 – no mean feat for one of Team Irelands’ youngest members.

Nguyen knew the Olympics would be tough, particularly as he would be taking on opponents with a lot more experience. True to form, Nguyen persevered, got his head down and trained non-stop for 8 weeks. “I would leave home around 7[am] and wouldn’t get back until 7 or 8[pm]. Looking back, I can’t believe I did it. But I didn’t want to leave any stones unturned. I wanted to be in the best shape I could be for the biggest event of all.”

In the end, Nguyen didn’t get the result he wanted but his head remains high. “I was very proud of my performance and my preparation. The result didn’t go my way, but that’s life, that’s sport. Hopefully it will go my way in the next one.”

Paris 2024 is fast approaching, but Nguyen is confident he has time on his side. Having already competed in Tokyo, Nguyen feels good to have the experience coming into the next games but he’s not thinking about gold yet, for him it’s all about progress – and pride.

 “I want to give back to my parents, that’s my main reason to play Badminton now,” he says.

“I play for my parents now. Of course I have ambition, but nothing will compare to what my parents have done for me… the better I do in Badminton, the more proud they’ll be.”

“2024 is a stepping stone,” he says, coming back to the here and now, the latest step in the long road he’s walked with optimism and determination.

“I’m just going there to give it my all.”

permanent tsb is proud to be Title Sponsor of both the Irish Olympic Team and The Irish Paralympic Team.

We believe that greatness isn’t something you’re born with. It requires work, dedication, self-belief, and support. In 2024, Team Ireland will travel to Paris with the hopes of a nation on their shoulders. And we will be supporting them every step of the way.

So when our Olympians and Paralympians take to the world stage, let’s come together in raising a nation to greatness.

Team Ireland Race Walking Coach Ray Flynn passes away suddenly.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland is saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Ray Flynn, coach and friend to the race walking community.

The Sligo native most recently coached the Team Ireland race walkers at the Tokyo Olympic Games based out of Sapporo.

Raymond was an esteemed coach, working with athletes from club, right up to international level including Robert Heffernan, Olive Loughnane, Colin Griffin, and James Costin.

Sincere condolences to Ray's family and friends and to the wider athletics community, where his loss will be felt.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland, today launched the Irish Winter Sports Strategy, together with the National Winter Sports Federations. This is a significant strategy which aims to overhaul and energise the winter sports environment in Ireland, and calls for a strategic approach to be taken in supporting and developing Winter Olympians, winter athletes and winter sports in Ireland.

With four main pillars, the mission of the strategy is to amplify the voice of winter sports in Ireland to achieve a shared vision of long-term sustainability and success, and to achieve equality of support for high performance winter athletes.

Irish Winter Sports StrategyDownload
Winter-Sport-Strategy-FinalDownload

The pillars are as follows:

  1. Facility Development – the strategy calls for the development of a permanent ice facility in Ireland, a project which has a track record globally of being commercially viable, would be achievable through private funding at little or no cost to the tax payer provided government and local authorities can assist in securing land.
  2. Athlete Carding, Participation and Talent Development – the strategy calls for state funding support through the Sport Ireland high performance carding scheme for Winter Olympic athletes. Similar to their summer counterparts, the commitment of Winter Olympians is significant both from a financial and emotional perspective. State support would significantly assist the winter athletes when the majority of their peers nationally and internationally have some of their costs funded by the State.
  3. Visibility – the aim is to enhance the relevance and voice of winter sports in Ireland, and will be supported by commercial and marketing plans.
  4. Governance – A commitment to good governance and actions to establish a pathway towards compliance with the governance code of sport for any organisations where it is not yet in place.

Speaking at the official launch, President of the OFI, Sarah Keane said,

“The Olympic Games, winter, or summer is arguably the biggest sporting event in the world. For an athlete to represent their country on this stage is a huge honour. We call for equality within the sporting sector for our Winter Olympians to have access to the carding scheme and support in the same way as other high performance athletes do.”

“We need to understand that winter sports athletes and federations need our support. Sustainable success doesn’t happen by chance, it doesn’t happen without support. We have high performing athletes across our sports, if we want to bring sport to the next level, if we want more than six athletes competing at the Olympic games, and if we want medals, we need to support our sports. We were very grateful for Minister Chambers on behalf of the government and representatives of the Federation of Irish Sport and Sport Ireland to meet with us and the winter federations and athletes to discuss this strategy and how we can bring it forward.”

CEO for the OFI, Peter Sherrard, added,

“The winter sports federations have put in a significant amount of work to establish a clear framework for improvement and success over the next four year period. The OFI is committed to supporting the journey with €50,000 funding to help the Federations fulfil the actions that it contains. Ahead of us, we have a very exciting project which has the potential to transform participation opportunities, while ensuring that the winter sports federations, by working together, are better recognised and supported, along with their athletes who represent us on the Winter Olympic stage.”

At today’s launch Minister Jack Chambers met with the athletes and member federations to discuss the streety and how the winter sport agenda can be advanced.

Clear skies and fresh winds on the Bay of Palma saw two Irish boats make steady ground towards Saturday's medal race finals.

Finn Lynch continued his steady and consistent form that he has displayed all week in the ILCA7 (formerly Laser class) class, scoring eighth and 14th for the day, scores that move him up the rankings to sixth place with just two races remaining in the Gold fleet series.

Ireland's second Gold fleet athlete didn't fare as well.  Ewan McMahon slipped to 30th overall after placing 39th and 21st in the day but with a very tight points spread back to 20th where he had been.

"We had really nice conditions, one of the best days I've ever seen in Palma with strong wind - some sailors are starting to get quite tired," commented Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing's Laser Coach.  "Finn has been aiming for good average results and there's still the  possibility of moving up the rankings a bit more; he's sailing smart without making mistakes.

"For Ewan, the points are still close so definitely he has the potential to pull up places on Friday."

Meanwhile, Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove are within two points of the top ten boats in the 49er skiff event after a four race day off S'Arenal east of Palma.

"They made some unforced errors which would have seen them around eighth tonight," said Irish Sailing's 49er coach Matt McGovern.  "It would be great if they could show their full potential on the final day with the results they're truly capable of."

Overnight, the Dublin crew found themselves disqualified from a race on Wednesday when they were amongst a group of three boats that infringed an Italian entry on the starting-line.  The ruling meant they had to use their discard to drop that penalty maximum score.

Thursday's racing saw the pair place 22nd then 15th before delivering two sixth places in the high-speed conditions.  They now lie 12th overall.

Racing in all ten events continues on Friday to complete the fleet series with the top ten crews in each class going forward to Saturday's medal race finals.

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