Weekly Update - 18 March 21

We are very excited to make our second official team selection this week with today’s announcement of Taekwondo athlete Jack Woolley being selected for Team Ireland in Tokyo this summer. Read more about this below, along with some of the highlights from the past week and a look forward to some of the competitions on the horizon, including the crucial Olympic qualifier for the 49ers in sailing. Two teams will be competing in the event in Lanzarote, with one place available for four nations.

As a reminder, the current status of Team Ireland for the Tokyo Olympics is 54 guaranteed athletes travelling to the Games, with many more sitting within qualification. The full details of the team can be found AT THIS LINK.

OLYMPIC FEDERATION OF IRELAND UPDATES

This week we launched our Team Ireland Supporter’s Shop in collaboration with clothing partner, McKeever Sports. The clothing range will expand in the coming months.

Signalling a build in excitement in the lead up to Tokyo, today’s team announcement of Jack Woolley (Taekwondo) has brought the number of officially selected athletes to two, and the first announcement since the postponement of the Olympic Games. Last year Liam Jegou (Canoe Slalom) was named and over the coming months this number will grow. The final team announcement will be as late as July 2021, with athletes and sports at various different stages in their qualification and selection journey.

Badminton

This week the Irish Badminton have been competing at the All-England Championships where Nhat Nguyen and Sam & Chloe Magee performed outstandingly, causing huge upsets in some of the earlier rounds. Nguyen defeated eighth seed Srikanth Kidambi (India) in a huge performance that has come on the back of his recovery from ‘Long Covid’ symptoms. In the Mixed event Chloe and Sam played what they believed was one of their best game to date, by overcoming number five seeds Soon Huat Goh and Shevon Jemie Lai from Malaysia by 21-19, 21-16, before losing out in the quarter finals to Japan .

Next up for the team will be the Orleans Masters next week in France where they will all hope to repeat the good form they showed this week.

Boxing

As a special St. Patrick’s Day celebration we shared a highlight from our most successful Olympic sport, boxing. Fifteen athletes with sixteen medals (thanks to the double Olympic medallist, Paddy Barnes) have together won over half of Ireland’s Olympic medals. We detailed all the medallists here, alongside a fabulous nostalgic video created by the Olympic Channel, which includes some previously unseen old footage.

We also included an interview with 1980 Olympic bronze medallist from Belfast, Hugh Russell.

Equestrian

Last weekend Irish riders claimed all of the top five places in the five star €73,000 Adequan WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, USA.

On the same weekend Olympic bronze medallist, Cian O’Connor, finished third with The Irish Sport Horse Kilkenny in the €401,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix at the same Winter Equestrian Festival, on a night where Ireland filled four of the top ten places.

Golf

The LPGA Tour takes a short break and Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow return to action at the Kia Classic in California from March 25th. World Amateur Ranked number 20 Olivia Mehaffey, makes her LPGA Symetra Tour debut today in Arizona as she receives an invite into the event.

Shane Lowry, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell compete on the PGA Tour this week at the Honda Classic in Florida.

Hockey

Over the last week the Irish Hockey team demonstrated top form in a three part match series against Olympic Champions, Great Britain. The Softco Series resulted in a tie between the two nations. In the FIRST MATCH Great Britain edged in front of Ireland, with a 2-1 win. The following day, goals from Chloe Watkins and Roisin Upton reversed the result with the Green Army winning 2-1. In the FINAL MATCH Roisin Upton made it three from three, scoring another goal, with the final score of 1-1 setting up an exciting scene for some top performances in Tokyo this summer. 

Kickboxing

Kickboxing Ireland will deliver several online webinars to support clubs and coaches in developing their understanding and skills, focusing on empowering and developing understanding and competence in areas of interest within combat sports.

Sailing

The Irish Sailing 49er Teams begin their Olympic Qualifier this Sunday in Lanzarote. This is the last chance for the teams to secure a place for Ireland in the 49er class at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. There are four nations in contention for one place in the 49er class: Ireland, Estonia, Italy and Belgium, and Ireland is represented by two teams: Olympian Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) and Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork Yacht Club); and Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club).

Swimming

Swim Ireland Performance Athlete Time Trials

Swim Ireland performance swimmers in National Centre Dublin, National Centre Limerick and at South Lakes Leisure Centre, Craigavon (Armagh) have been competing in a series of time trials which began last weekend and continue through to this weekend (Friday 19th & Saturday 20th March). The series acts as a last race preparation for the Irish National Team Trials which will take place at the National Aquatic Centre Dublin from April 20th – 24th.

Taekwondo

Jack Woolley became the first Taekwondo athlete in history to qualify, and be selected to compete for Ireland at the Olympic Games. The Tallaght athlete achieved his qualification spot in December 2019 following a lengthy qualification journey, which brought him around the world. Woolley will compete on the first day of action in Tokyo, and has made no secret about his ambitions to stand on the top of the podium at the Olympic Games.

We spoke to him towards the end of last year about his colourful qualification journey.

BEIJING UPDATES

The second athlete webinar for the Beijing long list athletes was held on Thursday 18th March, which dealt with nutrition and travel plans.

Snow Sports

Last weekend the inaugural National Alpine Skiing Championships were held in Kronplatz Ski Centre in Italy, this was the first time that the event was held in snow.  The first National Champions are Cormac Comerford in the Slalom, Alec Scott in Giant Slalom, and in the women's event Tess Arbez had double success, winning the slalom and the Giant Slalom.

Matt Ryan couldn’t travel to the National Championships due to travel restrictions from the USA, however, the 2020 Youth Olympian was in good form last weekend, winning a US FIS race and scoring a personal best. 

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