Padel Set to Make its European Games Debut in Krakow 2023
Team Ireland to be represented in doubles events popular growing sport


Padel is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world; this summer four Team Ireland athletes will be competing in this exciting sport at the European Games. Irish athletes will contest the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles in Krakow City, with the semi-finals and finals taking place in the iconic Main Square. Ireland is one of 23 nations competing in the competition which runs from the 21 – 25 June.

Although a new sport, there is an abundance of experience within the Irish team. The Women’s Double includes two Dubliners, ex-Professional tennis player Jennifer Claffey and former international tennis player Susan McRann. The Men’s Double consists of two Spanish-based athletes, Sean Neave who is originally from Kerry, and Sam McKibbon, from Bangor, who now lives in Marbella, Spain.

As well as being an ex-professional tennis player, Claffey competed in Rugby Sevens and was a premier level footballer. The Dublin all-rounder said,


“Padel is the fastest growing sport in the world, and I am honoured to represent Ireland at the European Games. I relish the challenge of the International Padel scene and look forward to growing the participation of padel across Ireland in the coming years.”


Men’s Doubles player Sean Neave (Kerry) currently lives and plays on the competitive Spanish circuit, said,

“I am very thankful to the Padel Federation of Ireland for this opportunity and look forward to representing Team Ireland in the European Games.”

Padel combines elements of tennis and squash and was invented by a Mexican man in 1969. The sport continued to grow in South America, before moving to Spain in the 1970s. It is now one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, in Spain it is the second most popular sport after soccer. The scoring for Padel is similar to that of Tennis.


Jennifer Claffey (Dublin) Women’s Doubles

Susan Mc Rann (Dublin) Women’s Doubles

Sean Neave (Kerry/Spain) Men’s Doubles

Sam Mc Kibbon (Bangor/Spain) Men’s Doubles

Team Ireland Chef de Mission for Krakow 2023, Gavin Noble said,

“Padel is an exciting new addition to the European Games programme, and one that has been growing in popularity all around Europe. We have really enjoyed working with the Padel Federation of Ireland on working with this new team, and delighted to field a team from Ireland in Krakow. This will be an impressive one for spectators, with the tournament taking place in the Main Square in Krakow.”


President of the Padel Federation of Ireland, Naomi Nicholl, said,


“Ireland’s selection as one of the 23 countries sending a Padel team to participate in the European Games is an extraordinary honour that serves as a testament to Ireland’s growing presence in the sport. Our selection acknowledges the continued efforts of our players, coaches, and supporters in promoting and advancing the sport both here in Ireland and on the international stage.”

This is the tenth sport to be announced by Team Ireland for the European Games this summer, with more announcements to come in the coming days. The European Games run from the 20th of June to the 2nd of July in Krakow and will see approximately 120 Irish athletes across seventeen sports. This is the third edition of the European Games, which is a multi-sport event run by the European Olympic Committees and will see athletes compete across districts in the Krakow-Malopolska region.

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