Olympic Weekly Update 21 Jan 21

The Tokyo Olympic qualification status of the athletes can be found AT THIS LINK which will be regularly updated. While many athletes are currently training from home, with little competition, see below a summary of relevant updates from sports to kick off the new year.

To date 52 Olympic athletes have secured Olympic qualification spots for Tokyo, with many more sitting within ranks, and tracking well for qualification. 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

Yesterday we announced the successful recipients of the FBD Make a Difference Fund which was launched before Christmas. The aim of this fund is to assist Tokyo/Beijing hopeful athletes with their preparation. After receiving a huge number of entries, eighteen athletes and twenty-five horses were successful in securing some of the €50,000 pot. Read more about the successful athletes and their plans HERE. If you are interested in interviewing any of these athletes, please let me know.

The OFI is currently investigating a move from Howth to the National Sports Campus and is exploring available options currently. The Campus master plan will be published shortly, and we are working closely with the Department on looking at appropriate solutions to meet our needs as an organisation. There would be many positives associated with bringing the Olympic rings on the campus alongside so many of our sports.

Over the coming weeks I will be in touch with each of the accredited journalists and associated agencies to reconfirm details ahead of the final media accreditation deadline in February. Also, the press by numbers accreditation process for Beijing 2022 is closing in February, so please let me know if any journalists are interested in applying for a media accreditation for these Winter Olympics.

TOKYO UPDATES

Athletics

Today we learnt of the sad passing of Olympic marathon runner, Jerry Kiernan RIP HERE. Jerry competed in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles where he finished in 9th place, and he was also coach to several of Ireland’s top runners. May he rest in peace.

Badminton

Team Ireland Badminton players are currently in the middle of a training block from home, with the Olympic qualifiers resuming again in March. Currently, Men’s Singles player Nhat Nguyen is sitting within the qualification cut off for Tokyo, and Mixed Doubles Chloe and Sam Magee are just outside it.

Equestrian

The long list for Tokyo’s Eventing team was named today by Horse Sport Ireland’s Eventing High Performance Director Sally Corscadden. The strong list includes five Olympians and the World Equestrian Games Silver Medal winning team.

Golf

While Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire enjoy a few more weeks of a break on the LPGA Tour, Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy have got their 2021 season underway at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship.

Hockey

The Ireland Women’s Hockey Team have returned from Murcia after a short warm weather camp which saw them take on Spain in a series of friendly matches. In December Coach Sean Dancer announced a reduced panel of 23 athletes who would be competing in 2021.  

BEIJING UPDATES

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.

Ice Skating

Young up and coming ice skater Liam O’Brien is set to make his ISU Championship debut for Ireland this weekend at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland.

Luge

In December we welcomed four new member federations to the OFI, including the Irish Luge Federation. Earlier this month Ireland’s first female athlete to compete internationally in Luge, Elsa Desmond, finished 27th at the 2021 European Championships.

Snow Sports

Today two time Olympian in Snowboarding Seamus O’Connor is competing in a World Cup event in Laax, in Switzerland. The finals will take place on Saturday 23 February, and can be followed HERE.

2021 has already been great for Cross Country skier and Olympian Thomas Maloney Westgaard who earlier this month recorded a career best top ten finish in a stage event of a FIS Cross Country World Cup. He finished ninth at the Tour de Ski in Northern Italy. Westgard competes again this weekend, in the Lahti World Cup, Finland.

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