In our final update for 2020 we have a few competition updates for you from our Olympic family. The focus of our interview of the week today is three time Olympian Chloe Magee in Badminton. Chloe competes with her brother Sam Magee in the Mixed Doubles and is currently just outside Olympic qualification. Competing is a crucial element of this sport, and with the qualification ranking unpausing again in March, she spoke with us about the challenges and decisions that she has to make over the coming months. Transcript available on request.

The 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 sports which will see Irish Olympic hopefuls in action this coming weekend. This weekly update is provided in collaboration with the various National Governing Bodies, and the press officer contact details for each sport is provided below.  

Olympic Federation of Ireland Updates

Earlier this week we launched the Make A Difference fund with Team Ireland sponsors for Tokyo, FBD Insurance. A grant of €50,000 is being provided to assist Olympic hopefuls in their preparation for the Olympic Games. MORE ABOUT THE FUND HERE.

TG4 Olympic Feature – Laochra Thar Lear

Every four years the Olympic Games showcase the best athletes in the world. They represent hope, endurance, strength, and pride, and allow small nations to compete side by side with the world’s most powerful. Next Wednesday 23 December at 21:30 TG4 will showcase some of Ireland’s most provocative Olympic stories and athletes in a feature documentary called Laochra Thar Lear. MORE DETAILS HERE.

Badminton

This week’s feature interview is with Chloe Magee who is competing for Olympic qualification with her brother Sam Magee in the Mixed Doubles. Currently Chloe and Sam are ranked 28th in this event, with 16 to qualify for Tokyo. Qualification is achievable, but strong showings at the remainder of the Olympic qualifying tournaments is essential.

Olympic hopefuls Chloe and Sam Magee, as well as Nhat Nguyen had their first competition post-lockdown at the Danish Open last October and will be targeting more international competitions in Asia over the coming months. Good results in these competitions will be key to gaining optimal ranking as they embark on the crucial Olympic qualification journey in March, when the ranking unpauses and the Olympic qualifying events resume.

Nhat Nguyen is currently sitting within Olympic qualification in the Men’s Singles, ranked 25th out of 38.

Golf

It’s the Tour Championship and final event of 2020 for Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire this week, with an opportunity for them to make some significant headway in terms of Olympic rankings and money with a purse of $3m. Information HERE. Follow their progress on the ILGU twitter feed.

Hockey

Team Ireland Hockey Coach Sean Dancer has announced his reduced panel of 23 athletes for 2021. The team has been training both regionally and nationally throughout the past number of months, playing a series of inter-squad matches in order to remain in top shape despite restrictions preventing them taking on other international squads. FULL DETAILS HERE.

Swimming

This week a small and select group of Ireland’s elite athletes including Darragh Greene, Shane Ryan and Danielle Hill will have their first races in a 50m pool since March, with the competition taking a unique format of short course (25m pool) heats and long course (50m pool) finals. Full outline and programme of events can be found HERE. Follow all updates and results from the action on the Swim Ireland social media channels.

Taekwondo

Taekwondo ace Jack Woolley has won a bronze medal at the Taekwondo European Championships - Senior Olympic Weight Category in Bosnia & Herzegovina in the -58kg. His event was on the 10 December 2020. MORE HERE.

This was the Tallaght athlete's first competition back since the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a podium finishing position. Earlier this month we chatted to him about his journey to Olympic qualification and how he has been getting on during lockdown.

Irish Women’s Head Coach, Sean Dancer, has announced a reduced panel of 23 players for 2021. The team has been training both regionally and nationally throughout the past number of months, playing a series of inter-squad matches in order to remain in top shape despite restrictions preventing them taking on other international squads.

The panel sees a mix of internationally experienced players, with several World Cup medallists included, while also incorporating some young and upcoming talent with the inclusion of two uncapped players. The panel is as follows:

PLAYER                                 Region                  Position               CAPS

BARR, Beth                         Ulster                    Defender             30

CAREY, Michelle                Leinster                Midfielder           Uncapped

CARROLL, Naomi              Munster               Striker                   111

COLVIN, Elizabeth            Ulster                    Midfielder           196

DALY, Nicola                       Leinster                Midfielder           189

DUKE, Deirdre                   Leinster                Midfielder           141

EVANS, Nicola                    Leinster                Striker                   198

FRAZER, Megan                 Ulster                    Defender             136

HAWKSHAW, Sarah         Leinster                Midfielder           33

MALSEED, Zara                  Ulster                    Striker                   Uncapped

MATTHEWS, Hannah      Leinster                Defender             147

McCAY, Shirley                  Ulster                    Defender            306

McFERRAN, Ayeisha        Ulster                    Goal Keeper       100

McLOUGHLIN, Hannah   Leinster                Defender             14

MULLAN, Kathryn (C)     Ulster                    Midfielder           193

MURPHY, Elizabeth         Leinster                Goal Keeper       13

O’FLANAGAN, Anna        Leinster                Striker                   207

O’FLANAGAN, Grace      Leinster                Goal Keeper       36

TICE, Elena                          Leinster                Defender             109

TORRANS, Sarah               Leinster                Striker                   26

UPTON, Roisin                   Munster               Defender             76

WATKINS, Chloe               Leinster                Midfielder           226

WILSON, Zoe                      Ulster                    Defender             103

Speaking on the selection, Head Coach Sean Dancer said “This has been a tough process, reducing the number of athletes on the panel. We’ve seen some new talent come in and make an impression, which is a great sign for the longer term vision of the sport here in Ireland.

I’m confident we have a really good mix of experience and talent in this panel. They’ve all been working incredibly hard and it’s been quite challenging over the past number of months with restrictions.

I’m looking forward to the next few months and excited that we’re getting closer to Tokyo 2021.”

Irish Women’s Captain Katie Mullan said “2020 has been a challenging year for everyone but over the past couple of months we have trained incredibly hard. With a very competitive cohort we have made some great progress, despite all the challenges COVID has presented. All our training has been in a safe environment which is credit to our staff and the players for adhering to all rules put in place. We are very excited for 2021 with 2 major international competitions on the calendar, Europeans and the Olympic Games. However, first and foremost we just cannot wait to play some international test matches again in the New Year.”

Schedule for Tokyo:

July 24th: Ireland v South Africa

July 26th: Netherlands v Ireland

July 28th: Germany v Ireland

July 30th: Ireland v India

July 31st: Ireland v GB

Aug 2nd: Quarterfinal

Aug 4th: Semi-final

Aug 6th: Final

€50,000 Grant for Irish athletes on their Olympic journey

The Olympic Federation of Ireland, in conjunction with official sponsor FBD Insurance, has launched an exciting ‘Make a Difference’ programme to assist Olympic hopefuls in their preparation for the Olympic Games. The grant of €50,000 being provided by FBD Insurance delivers further discretionary support to our elite athletes, which since 2018 totals €580,000.

Long list athletes, in collaboration with their National Federation are invited to apply for a share of the FBD Make a Difference fund. The fund is specifically aimed at prospective members of Team Ireland who are likely to compete in the Olympic Games, the grants are designed to provide financial assistance and to make a difference to athletes on their Olympic journey.  It is aimed at those athletes who are not recipients of Sport Ireland Podium or World Class funding on the carding programme. It also provides opportunities of investment in athletes who directly impact on Olympic performance at the Games, for example sparring or training partners.

FBD Insurance is the primary sponsor of Team Ireland, supporting Team Ireland athletes on their Olympic journey. This funding aims to impact the athletes’ daily performance environment, providing additional supports such as travel to training and competition, coaching costs, or sports science and medical support.

Speaking at the announcement, Chief Commercial Officer with FBD Insurance, John Cahalan said,

“We are delighted to offer this additional support to Team Ireland athletes through the Make A Difference fund. As proud sponsors of the Irish Olympic Team, we are continually impressed with the resilience, commitment, and passion of the Olympic hopefuls as they inspire the nation and boldly overcome hurdles and challenges in their pursuit of excellence. Next year we will be proudly cheering them on as they compete on the biggest stage, at the Olympic Games, and FBD Insurance are proud to support Team Ireland on that journey. Our hope is that this additional funding will hopefully go some way towards further supporting the successful recipients, making their journey a little less challenging.”

Commercial Director with the Olympic Federation of Ireland, Catherine Tiernan added,

“FBD Insurance have been unwavering in their support of Team Ireland and we are really excited to launch this Make a Difference campaign, because it will most certainly make a difference to our athletes. Team Ireland athletes compete against the best in the world and represent us so well. As amateur athletes, the financial commitments that they make for sporting excellence is immense. This programme will go towards some of the daily expenses that our athletes accrue on their qualification and preparation journey for the Olympic Games, and I want to thank FBD Insurance for this important support.”

Eligible athletes for the ‘Make a Difference’ programme have been contacted directly by the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

In the final flurry of competitions before Christmas, Irish athletes will be in action this week in a couple of sports. The focus of our interview of the week today is Felix English, the Irish track cyclist who together with Mark Downey qualified a spot for Ireland in the Madison earlier this year. He talks about the qualification rollercoaster and lockdown at his training base in Mallorca. Transcript available on request.

The 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 sports which will see Irish Olympic hopefuls in action this coming weekend. This weekly update is provided in collaboration with the various National Governing Bodies, and the press officer contact details for each sport is provided below.  

Olympic Federation of Ireland Updates

This week we held an EGM virtually, where three new members join the OFI Executive Committee – Moira Aston (canoeing), Michelle Carpenter (rowing), and Linda Morgan (boxing). This is the first time that it is a fully gender balanced board, with 6 males and 6 females.

At the EGM four new member federations were also added; Luge, Dance Sport and Surfing became full members, due to their presence on the programme for the Paris Games, with Kickboxing becoming an associate member, as it will hopefully on the schedule for LA 2028. FULL STORY HERE.

Paris Updates

Earlier this week the IOC approved the programme of events for Paris 2024. Some of the key points of difference in the programme include a reduction in the number of athletes competing, and a reduction in the number of events, it will also be the first time there will be the same number of male and female athletes attending the Games.

The main updates from an Irish context are:

Cycling

In the inaugural 2020 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships Ireland’s Chris McGlinchey finished 13th in a time of 1:05.19, just 4.8 seconds behind the winner. Full results can be found here.

This week’s interview was with track cyclist Felix English, who alongside Mark Downey qualified a spot for Ireland in the Madison at the Tokyo Olympics. Felix speaks about life in lockdown at the training base in Mallorca, and also about the roller coaster of emotions around the drama of an initial misallocation of Olympic qualification spots, which saw them temporarily lose out to Hong Kong.

At the World Championships both the men’s team and the women’s team of Lydia Boylan and Lydia Gurley finished at the right side of Olympic qualification. By qualifying in the Madison, Ireland automatically also gained a spot in the Omnium event. Olympic qualification in track cycling is now complete so the remaining competitions between now and Tokyo will see Team Ireland focus on internal selection, to decide who will don that jersey next summer.

Brian Nugent has stepped down as Technical Director and Head Coach of the Cycling Ireland high performance programme, after fifteen years at the helm. He has overseen sweeping success across the Olympic and Paralympic programme on the track and road during this time and will be missed.

Diving

The Netherlands have set up a virtual diving competition in which three Irish performance divers will compete. 46 divers are entered representing their country or club with 12 different countries or clubs involved. 

Nations Involved (Scotland, England, Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Jamaica)

4 Olympic Events (Men 3M, Men Platform, Women 3M, Women Platform) 

Judged by FINA A list International Officials

The event will be published on YouTube on 13th December 2020 

Irish Divers Participating 

Oliver Dingley Men’s 3M 

Clare Cryan Women’s 3M

Tanya Watson Women’s Platform  

Follow their progress on Swim Ireland: www.swimireland.ie  

Golf

This week up and coming golf talent Olivia Mehaffey will be playing as an Amateur at the US Women’s Open. Professionals Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire just missed out on qualifying spots at the event. More here and follow Olivia’s progress on the ILGU twitter feed.

Sailing

The Irish sailing team is currently training in Villamoura, Portugal, with one boat already qualified for Tokyo – the Laser Radial. The 49ers and Lasers are still seeding qualification for Tokyo 2020.

The 49er’s Olympic qualifier has been confirmed as the Princesa Sofia regatta in Palma, Spain – 26 March – 3 April 2021.

The Laser’s Olympic qualifier will take place in Hyeres, France from the 17-24 April.

More details on the sailing team can be found HERE where you will find links to how you can follow the team.

Taekwondo

Jack Woolley has been progressing through his rounds today at the Taekwondo European Championships – Seniors Olympic Weight Category in Bosnia.  You can follow his competition HERE. Last week we chatted to him about his journey to Olympic qualification and how he has been getting on during lockdown.

The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today approved the event programme and athlete quotas for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, which are centred on gender equality and youth.

Skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing and breaking were confirmed as additional sports proposed by the Paris 2024 Organising Committee. This new flexibility is part of the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020. Today’s decision will help to make the Olympic Games Paris 2024 fit for a post-corona world.

In accordance with the recommendations of the Olympic Programme Commission, the main features of Paris 2024’s Olympic programme include:

- Exactly 50 per cent male and female participation, following on from the gender equality already achieved for Tokyo 2020, which will have 48.8 per cent female participation.

- Growth of mixed gender events, from 18 to 22, compared to Tokyo 2020.

- Skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing and breaking confirmed as additional sports based on a proposal by Paris 2024. Breaking will make its Olympic debut.

- Reduction in the overall athlete quota (including all new sports) to exactly 10,500.

- Reduction in the overall number of events, with a final programme of 329 events.

“With this programme, we are making the Olympic Games Paris 2024 fit for the post-corona world. We are further reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Games. While we will achieve gender equality already at the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we will see for the first time in Olympic history the participation of the exact same number of female athletes as male athletes. There is also a strong focus on youth,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

The full programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 is available here.

Gender equality

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 next year will be the first gender equal Olympic Games, with an overall 48.8 per cent female participation, which will be further increased at Paris 2024, reaching the exact same number of male and female athletes for the first time in Olympic history.

Athletics, boxing and cycling will reach full gender equality for the first time ever at Paris 2024, meaning 28 out of 32 sports on the Paris 2024 programme will be fully gender balanced.

Paris 2024 will also mark a growth in mixed events on the programme, compared to Tokyo 2020, from 18 to 22.

Athlete quotas

The 10,500-athlete quota set for Paris 2024, including new sports, will lead to an overall reduction in the number of athletes – 592 fewer compared to Tokyo 2020 (11,092). It will also lead to a reduction in the number of officials, and therefore in the overall size and complexity of the Games.

The reduction across the 28 sports has been proportionate and focused on those sports that can best absorb the reduction, whilst maintaining the universality of the Games.

Weightlifting

The highest quota reduction was made in weightlifting, which also had four events removed from the programme. The sport now has five events per gender, with a quota of 120 athletes, compared to 196 in Tokyo (and prior to that, 260 at Rio 2016), with the specific weight classes to be finalised by the IWF in the fourth quarter of 2021.

In making its decisions about weightlifting, the IOC EB considered its strong concerns with regard to the governance of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and the doping history of the sport. It also reiterated that the place of weightlifting on the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 continues to be subject to ongoing review by the IOC.

Boxing

The second highest reduction was made in boxing. At the same time, the sport will reach full gender equality in athlete participation for the first time at Paris 2024, fostering a gender-balanced programme featuring seven men’s and six women’s events, with the specific weight classes to be finalised by the IOC EB in the fourth quarter of 2021.

When making its decision about boxing, the IOC EB took the ongoing concerns about the International Boxing Association (AIBA) into account. The recognition of the Federation has been suspended by the IOC. At the same time, the IOC reflected its commitment to protect the athletes of the boxing community.

Events and youth-focused approach

In the post-COVID-19 world, limiting the overall number of events is a key element in curbing the growth of the Olympic programme as well as additional costs. Although the IFs had requested a total of 41 additional events, the IOC EB decided not to increase the number of events across any of the 28 sports in the initial programme, ensuring a fair and objective approach in applying this principle to its review of the event programme.

In addition, the IOC EB strove to provide further reassurance to the athletes during this difficult time, consistent with the “athletes-first” approach of the IOC and the Paris 2024 Organising Committee. It therefore retained the vast majority of the current events, given the short three-year period between the Olympic Games Tokyo and Paris 2024.

As a result of these considerations, the overall number of events will be reduced from 339 to 329 compared to Tokyo 2020.

Four sports proposed by the Paris 2024 Organising Committee have been confirmed:  skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing as well as breaking, which will make its Olympic debut, building on the success of the sport at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.

Additionally, the urban sport concept has been expanded, showcasing youth-focused events that are inclusive, engaging and can be practised outside conventional arenas.

The following eight events have been included on the programme, replacing existing events, in each case to ensure no increases in event numbers:

- 1 new mixed-gender event in athletics to replace the men’s 50km race walk

- 1 new women’s weight class in boxing to replace 1 men’s weight class

- 2 extreme canoe slalom events to replace 2 canoe sprint events

- 3 new mixed events in sailing (including mixed kiteboarding and mixed 470 - two-person dinghy), to replace 1 men’s and 1 women’s 470 - two-person dinghy events and the men’s Finn - one-person dinghy

- 1 new skeet mixed team event in shooting to replace the trap mixed team event.

Athletics

The IOC EB praised the commitment of World Athletics to reach full gender equality in both athlete quotas and event numbers. However, with a view to not increasing the overall size of the Olympic Games, the EB determined to maintain the same number of athletics events on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme (48), while offering the opportunity to World Athletics to replace the men’s 50km race walk event with a new mixed-gender event.

This replacement mixed-gender event could be either a race walk or a track event, as long as the event and competition format fit within the existing venue/courses.

The EB also recognised the need to provide the necessary additional time for World Athletics to finalise its proposal for a mixed-gender event that would meet the abovementioned requirements, and therefore confirmed a window to confirm the specific event proposal by 31 May 2021.

Sailing

The IOC EB supported the introduction of the new mixed kiteboarding and the mixed 470 - two-person dinghy events, but decided to further review the mixed offshore event in order to properly assess the key considerations around the cost, safety and security of the athletes.

The specific event proposal will be decided by 31 May 2021.

Background

The Olympic programme is developed in thorough consultation with the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, International Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and athletes, and finalised by the IOC Executive Board upon the recommendations of the Olympic Programme Commission.

As a consequence of the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the IOC and Paris 2024 have committed to reducing the cost and complexity of the Olympic Games.

This priority, in line with Olympic Agenda 2020, was communicated to the IFs in June 2020 when the IOC EB reiterated the vital importance of reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Olympic Games.

This week’s update includes a number of activities across our Olympic community – with international competitions taking place in Taekwondo, Golf and Cycling, all detailed below. Also, this week’s interview is with Judoka Megan Fletcher, who is currently sitting inside Olympic qualification in 14th place – she talks about training in her parent’s garden centre during lockdown and why she’s pleased to be back competing, as well as a change in the Judo calendar for 2021.

Megan Fletcher competes in the -70kg category in Judo

The 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 sports which will see Irish Olympic hopefuls in action this coming weekend. This weekly update is provided in collaboration with the various National Governing Bodies, and the press officer contact details for each sport is provided below.  

Olympic Federation of Ireland Updates

There was a significant moment last week at the General Assembly of the EOC, which saw the Olympic Federation of Ireland table a motion for a minimum 30% gender balance on the Executive Committee of the EOC. This motion was passed by a majority of 88%.

Next week will see the OFI EGM take place on the 8 December, where voting will take place for positions on the Executive Board - nine candidates are in the running for seven places. Read more here.

Beijing 2022

The accreditation process for the Winter Olympics in Beijing 2022 is currently open – the Games take place from the 4-20 February 2022, and if anyone is interested in applying for a press accreditation, please contact me. 

Boxing

This week the IOC Boxing Task Force announced that the resumption of the European Boxing Road to Tokyo event has been officially scheduled to return to London on the 22-26 April 2021. The event serves as the continuation (following the suspension of the event after its third day of competition on 16 March) of the Olympic Boxing qualifier for the European nations and will allocate the remaining 61 Olympic quota spots reserved for the continent in the Olympic Games.

Cycling

Chris McGlinchey will represent Ireland at the inaugural 2020 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships which take place from the 8-9 December. Competition takes place over Zwift – more information can be found HERE. And follow the Cycling Ireland social media channels for updates.

Equestrian

Last week saw more success for Horse Sport Ireland, with the Show Jumping team achieving more podium success at the Nations Cup thanks to a third place finish for the Irish in a 17 team strong field - FULL REPORT HERE

Golf

Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire are back in action again this week at the Volunteers of America Classic – one of the last events for them pre-Christmas. Full details of the event can be found HERE with Irish specific updates on the ILGU twitter feed.

Judo

Competition has already begun in Judo with Olympic ranking events resuming. In an ordinary Olympic year, this ranking closes in April, but following the postponement of the Games and a rescheduling of events, the Olympic qualification calendar has been restructured. Next year qualification ranking events will run up until June 2021, with three major competitions taking place in that time – the first being the World Master’s in January. This week Megan Fletcher heads to a training camp in Austria, where she will train with some of the top Judokas in her event – the -70kg category. She SPOKE TO US about how she has dealt with the rollercoaster of a year 2020 has been, and how she looks forward to 2021. Transcript is available on request.

Currently Megan and her brother sit inside qualification for Tokyo, with Nathon Burns marginally outside qualification.  

Taekwondo

Jack Woolley has already qualified a spot for Ireland in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and he returns to competition next week, with the European Championships Olympic Weight Categories, which takes place in Bosnia on the 10th December. Last week we chatted to Jack about his journey to Olympic qualification and how he has been getting on during lockdown. Again, transcript available on request.

Volleyball

As part of Volleyball Ireland’s Inspiring Players Series, they have lined up all time great and triple Olympic Gold Medallist Kerri Walsh Jennings as a guest speaker next Monday 7th December. For more details go HERE and follow Volleyball Ireland HERE.

Last weekend we had a number of highlights from Equestrian and Golf, with a round up of those medal winning performances from Eventer Cathal Daniels and Golfer Stephanie Meadows. This weekend will be another relatively quiet one, and we have also included an interview with Jack Woolley who is preparing for his first competition since the pandemic started. For anyone interested in getting the transcript, it is available on request.  

The 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 sports which will see Irish Olympic hopefuls in action this coming weekend. This weekly update is provided in collaboration with the various National Governing Bodies, and the press officer contact details for each sport is provided below.  

Olympic Federation of Ireland Updates

Dare to Believe on RTÉ After School Hub Winter Games – Following last week’s announcement of FBD’s sponsorship of the programme several of the Dare to Believe ambassadors have featured on RTÉ’s After School Hub Winter Games. The aim of this has been to introduce younger children to the Olympic sports in a fun and interactive way.

Equestrian

Last weekend Ireland’s 2019 European Championship bronze medallist in Eventing Cathal Daniels (Galway) continued his preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games with a commanding win in the feature CC14*_S at the Portugal Winter Tour in Barroca d’Alva. While this event held a chance for some international athletes to achieve the qualification standard needed for the Games, it was not relevant to Ireland, who have already made history with full teams qualified in all disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Show Jumping. Full report HERE.

Golf

After a three week break Stephanie Meadows and Leona Maguire were competing in the Pelican Women’s Championship Presented by Dex Imaging & Konica Minolta in Belleair, Florida from the 19-22 November. Stephanie finished third on the LPGA tour, which sees her jump a couple of places to 38th in the Olympic rankings. Leona finished T53, and also has jumped a few spots to 43rd in Olympic rankings.

Stephanie Meadow credited the huge team behind her after matching her career best LPGA Tour finish with a third place result at the Pelican Women’s Championship.

Playing in the final group alongside eventual champion Sei Young Kim and Ally McDonald, the Jordanstown professional recovered from bogeys at her opening two holes to post a hard-fought one-under par round of 69 for a nine-under par tournament total and a podium finish. The result ties her career-best performance, last earned at the 2014 US Women’s Open and is proof that the hard work is paying off for the now 28-year old. Full report HERE

Swimming

Saturday (28th Nov) is the final week of Swim Ireland Performance Athletes Time Trial Series. Athletes who have been training at the National Sports Campus, UL Sport and in Bangor will race against each other in the third of the series at the NAC. This is the first time that athletes will come together with the previous two race days held in their home pools as virtual races.

Taekwondo

This week’s interview was with Ireland’s Taekwondo star, Jack Woolley. Earlier this year Jack successfully secured Ireland’s first every spot in Taekwondo, competing in the -58kg category. In this interview (transcript available on request), Jack talks about some of the strategic decisions that were made when planning competitions that ultimately led to Olympic qualification, and also about the strides that he has made in his own training during lockdown.

Next week Woolley travels to Bosnia, where he will prepare for competition in the European Championships which takes place on the 10 December. WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE.

LAURA OSTLER NAMED AS PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS LEAD FOR TOKYO OLYMPIC GAMES

Experienced Professional to Support Team Ireland

2020 Following a robust selection process, the Olympic Federation of Ireland today named Laura Ostler as Lead for Performance Analysis at the Tokyo Olympic Games.  

Ostler is an experienced multi-sport performance analyst working at the Sport Northern Ireland Sports Institute.  She started in the field of performance analysis in 2004 on placement at the South Australian Sports Institute as a sport and exercise science undergraduate student studying at the University of Bath.  In 2008 she undertook an MSc in performance analysis at Cardiff Metropolitan University, where she was able to develop her applied analysis skills working with sports through Sport Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University. 

Since 2009 Ostler has worked at the Sport Northern Ireland Sports Institute, initially on placement, refining her applied practice, and as a full time member of staff since 2011. Her main responsibility is over planning and delivering analysis support in training and competition environments to predominantly Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games coaches and athletes.  In recent years, Laura has worked extensively with Cycling Ireland, and supported Ulster boxers in their preparation for and during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Ostler will draw upon her experience of service provision, as well as experiences from multi-sport Games including 2019 European Games, 2018 Commonwealth Games, to plan and deliver performance analysis support at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Chef de Mission, Tricia Heberle, said

“Laura is a significant addition to our Science and Medicine Team supporting Team Ireland at the Tokyo Games. Her previous experience delivering a remote analysis hub for the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games team will be a real asset in setting up a similar support for the Olympic team in Tokyo.”

Head of Performance Support Phil Moore added,

“Laura joins a very strong Science and Medicine team and will bring a wealth of performance analysis experience to the team. She will be based with the Cycling Team where she has worked for a number of years and will also manage our analysis hub based in Ireland. This will help us deliver a significant step-up in analysis support to Team Ireland at the Tokyo Games.”   

The first meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 (LA28) concluded today, with updates detailing the strong foundations laid by the local Organising Committee, its achievements to date and plans for the coming months as it looks to deliver innovative Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Commission, chaired by IOC Executive Board member Nicole Hoevertsz from Aruba, focused on a number of areas during two days of virtual meetings. Topics included LA28’s vision and mission, sport and venue plans, as well as the success of its brand and commercial programmes.

IOC President Thomas Bach joined the opening of the meeting to share his appreciation for all the work being done by the team in Los Angeles despite the difficulties caused by COVID-19.

He said:

“2020 has provided unprecedented challenges to the world and the Olympic Movement, but we have demonstrated that flexibility and innovation will be embraced to adapt to the new landscape and deliver Olympic Games fit for a post-corona world. We have shown in recent months that we are indeed stronger together. This was uniquely illustrated in the launch of the LA28 brand last month – the Organising Committee’s innovative and creative approach receiving plaudits from across the world.”

He continued:

“From its inception, the LA28 project has embedded the very essence of Olympic Agenda 2020 in all its strategic plans. These recommendations have opened the door to leverage the unique level of existing event experience present in Los Angeles and the ability to embrace an event-centred approach to planning and delivery. These Games will therefore leave a positive legacy for the citizens of Los Angeles and the United States at large.”  

Speaking about the work of the Organising Committee, the Coordination Commission Chair Nicole Hoevertsz said:

“We’re really pleased with the progress made by the team in Los Angeles, highlighted by the launch of their unique brand and agreements with a number of high-profile commercial partners.

“The extensive dialogue we’ve had over the past two days has been very encouraging, reinforcing LA28’s determination to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave a legacy for generations of Americans to enjoy. They’ve made a great start and, over the coming years, we look forward to working closely with them, drawing upon the abundance of event expertise within the city and utilising the experience of those within this Commission to deliver truly memorable Games in 2028.”

LA28 Chairperson Casey Wasserman said:

“Los Angeles is a city that’s always changing and evolving. It’s a place where creativity and innovation thrive. As a world-class sports and entertainment city with a creative edge, Los Angeles is built to host the Games and deliver fans and athletes an unparalleled Olympic and Paralympic experience.”

With Los Angeles preparing to host its third Olympic Games and first Paralympic Games, one of LA28’s first major landmarks was highlighted to the Commission. The launch of the LA28 brand on 1 September revealed an animated emblem, built for the digital age and designed to evolve over time. Anchored with a bold and static L, 2 and 8, the LA28 emblem allows for an exceptional spectrum of stories through an interchanging dynamic 'A', illustrated through variations created by athletes, artists and advocates connected to Los Angeles.

Updates were also provided on the Organising Committee’s early commercial success. This was highlighted by the confirmation of LA28’s first “Founding Partner”, several licensing agreements and more announcements in the pipeline.

Another area on which the Organising Committee reiterated its commitment to deliver is its youth sports promise. As part of awarding the 2028 Games to Los Angeles, LA28 and the IOC agreed that up to USD 160 million would be invested in local youth sports leading up to the Games. While delayed due to COVID-19, discussions centred on the next steps for this project. LA28’s venue masterplan was another important topic covered. Embracing the Olympic Movement’s commitment to sustainability and legacy, and to contributing towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the 2028 Games will not require the construction of any new venues. The Commission heard that this will allow LA28 to focus more on delivering an unforgettable experience for everyone involved in the Games, as well as developing innovative engagement activities designed to bring new fans into the Olympic and Paralympic movements.

IOC EXECUTIVE BOARD AND TOKYO 2020 DISCUSS USD 280 MILLION IN SAVINGS FROM MEASURES DEVELOPED TO DELIVER GAMES FIT FOR POST-CORONA WORLD

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee today discussed the estimated USD 280 million (JPY 30 billion) in cost savings that will be achieved by initial simplification and optimisation measures developed to deliver Games fit for a post-corona world.

This tentative figure was revealed at the IOC EB meeting held remotely earlier today. It is based on over 50 measures that were agreed by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 at last month’s Coordination Commission meeting.

Speaking after the meeting, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “We got another very encouraging, precise and excellent report from the Tokyo Organising Committee. There is really great progress being made to make these Olympic Games fit for the post-corona world. Savings of about USD 280 million will be achieved in the operational budget by applying 50 plus measures, which had been agreed between the Organising Committee and the IOC Coordination Commission in the last meeting.”

Examples of some of the key measures being implemented include: the review of specifications for temporary overlay and other equipment at venues; the reduction of service levels and the Look of the Games in venues and in the Olympic and the Paralympic Village; the optimisation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay operations; encouraging stakeholders to optimise their delegation working in Tokyo; and also staffing plans for the Organising Committee.https://www.youtube.com/embed/UoSvJdCEeow?modestbranding=1&rel=0&wmode=transparent&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.olympic.org

The results of these efforts will now allow Tokyo 2020 to estimate the total additional costs associated with the postponement, including the approximate costs for COVID-19 countermeasures. The Organising Committee will work through these topics in detail and present its updated budget by the end of this year.

On the countermeasure planning, President Bach commented: "We also see that the work on COVID countermeasures is making good progress, and that more and more measures are being added, including the potential availability of vaccines and rapid testing – where we are very confident that they will be available. All these new methods will be added to the toolbox, which will then be available when we have to take the final decision. Then we can decide which tools we can take out of this toolbox, and apply them for the safe organisation of these Olympic Games, about which both the Organising Committee and the IOC are very, very confident."

The IOC EB also agreed on an addendum to the Host City Contract, which has now been approved by all the relevant parties.

The IOC Coordination Commission and the Tokyo  2020 Organising Committee agreed today, 25 September, on a series of measures to make the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 fit for a post-corona world.

Developed in response to the postponement of this year’s Games due to the coronavirus pandemic, over 50 measures have been designed to maximise cost savings and increase efficiencies in Games delivery.

In his opening remarks to the meeting participants, IOC President Thomas Bach acknowledged the outstanding progress being made by Tokyo 2020, reinforcing his belief that next year’s Olympic Games will be the best prepared ever. He also emphasised that the coming months will require flexibility and creativity from everyone involved as the Tokyo organisers deliver Games fit for a post-corona world. In doing so, the IOC President offered his gratitude to all stakeholders, who are fully aligned with the measures being envisaged.

Today’s meeting provided the Coordination Commission with the opportunity to review the current list of measures, with more opportunities to be identified in the lead-up to the Games. These have been split into four main categories: stakeholders; infrastructure; promotion; and other areas of interest.

Examples of the initial measures include the reduction of stakeholder personnel attending the Games, streamlining transport services, adjusting spectator activities at competition venues and hosting a number of pre-Games meetings online.

Speaking after the meeting, Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Chair John Coates said:

“Built from the principles outlined by the Joint IOC and Tokyo 2020 Steering Committee, these optimisations and simplifications mark an important step towards delivering a safe and successful Games in 2021. We owe it to the public to enact these measures during these challenging times, that’s why we’ve left no stone unturned and will continue to look for further opportunities over the coming months. The unique task of reorganising an Olympic Games has called for the Olympic Movement to be stronger together – this milestone illustrates our collective commitment. The ‘Tokyo Model’ will not only deliver a Games fit for a post-corona world, it will become a blueprint that will benefit future Organising Committees for many years to come.”

Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshiro added:

“Considering the current state of the world, we have been discussing how we will be able to deliver a safe and secure Games that can win public understanding in these challenging times. After we established a broader direction that the Games in 2021 should be simplified, we have been working closely together with the IOC, the IPC and various stakeholders such as IFs, NOCs, NPCs, partners and broadcasters, in every possible area that can contribute to simplifications. This process will benefit future society – becoming a role model for future global events as people adapt to living in the new normal. We will make all efforts to ensure that in the future the Tokyo 2020 Games will be a legacy. We will continue to work hard on simplifications towards next year and ask for the continued cooperation of all those involved in the Games.”

The measures were developed with support from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Tokyo 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and the Government of Japan. Important input was also obtained from key Olympic stakeholder groups, including National Olympic and Paralympic Committees, International Federations, Rights-Holding Broadcasters, media and TOP Partners.

With these measures now agreed, Tokyo 2020 will start estimating the provisional cost-savings that can be achieved, with a view to providing an update at the IOC Executive Board meeting in October.

COVID-19 Countermeasures

The IOC Coordination Commission also received an update on COVID-19 countermeasure planning. This detailed how the IOC, together with Tokyo 2020 and the All Partners Task Force, which includes the World Health Organization (WHO), the IPC, the Government of Japan and the TMG, with input from experts in relevant areas, have reviewed a range of scenarios. These consider the situation in Japan and globally, illustrating potential scenarios that could be in effect during the Games next year.

This strategic approach has been crucial to identifying possible countermeasures necessary to protect the health of all Games participants. It will also help build a framework for operational planning.

The possible countermeasures have been grouped into seven areas: travel/country access; physical distancing; personal protective equipment/cleaning; food and beverage; testing/tracking/isolating; information provision and vaccines.

As part of this process, the close cooperation between the IOC, International Federations and other event organisers was highlighted. This has provided vital input into an ongoing review of the best practices and key learnings taken from the resumption of sporting events in Japan and around the world.

Looking ahead, the Commission acknowledged that as countermeasures are further developed and reviewed, important discussions will continue to be conducted on a stakeholder-journey based approach, with a focus on athletes, Games-related personnel and spectators. These preparations will continue to evolve in line with the monitoring of the global situation and its impact on Games preparations.

Experienced Professionals to Support Team Ireland Following Robust Selection Process

Following a robust selection process, the Olympic Federation of Ireland today named the team of Medical Officers (MO) who will support Team Ireland athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. Dr Alan Rankin was appointed as Deputy Chief Medical Officer and MO for the pre-games training camp in Fukoroi. Dr Suzi Clarke and Dr George Fuller will be based in Tokyo and Dr Frank O’Leary will lead the medical support in Sapporo. All four will work directly with Team Ireland Chief Medical Officer Dr Jim O’Donovan in the build up to, and throughout the Games period.

A key objective in the recruitment process was to ensure a seamless transition for athletes from their normal training and competition environment to the Olympic Games and Chief Medical Officer Dr Jim O’Donovan is satisfied with these appointments, acknowledging the continuity of care for athletes who will work with professionals with whom they are familiar. O’Donovan said,

A rigorous selection process has provided our medical team and athletes with the opportunity to work alongside some excellent, experienced and trusted colleagues from across Ireland.

Tokyo will provide a number of medical challenges and I am confident our doctors will fit in to our multi-disciplinary team seamlessly with a number of them working alongside our athletes and staff already. I am confident the knowledge, experience and expertise we now have within our medical team will ensure Team Ireland athletes are fully prepared and will help them achieve their goals.”  

Head of Performance Support Phil Moore added,

“The Medical team will be well-known to the Olympic athletes in Tokyo. One of our key criteria in the robust selection process was to ensure that there was a continuity of care for athletes going to the Games and this is a particularly strong feature of this team. There is a real depth of expertise in this medical team and strong working relationships with the athletes and coaches of Team Ireland.”    

In July the physiotherapy support team was announced for the Tokyo Olympic Games which will now take place from the 23 July to the 8 August 2021. Irish athletes are currently in the qualification stages across their sports, and at this stage there are 52 athlete spots confirmed already for Team Ireland.

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