This week we have a number of updates across the sports, with Team Ireland athletes in action in both summer and winter events. While many eyes will be on the athletics this coming weekend, we are also keeping a keen focus on the winter sports, where Irish athletes are competing in World Championship events. We spoke with Team Ireland hockey goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran, ahead of their first competition on Irish soil since 2019, when they play Olympic Champions GB in Queens University from the 13-16 March.
As a reminder, the current status of Team Ireland with less than 150 days until the Tokyo Olympics is that we have 54 guaranteed athletes travelling to the Games, with many more sitting within qualification. This number has not changed in the last number of weeks.
The full details of the team can be found AT THIS LINK which was updated this week to reflect some of the changes in ranking for athletes.
OLYMPIC FEDERATION OF IRELAND UPDATES
Last week the OFI Athletes’ Commission launched the Don’t Scroll By Campaign which had a real call to action, asking everyone to play a role in eliminating hate speech online. The campaign represented a pledge from Olympic sports organisations to keep online sport free of hate speech. In order to explain this stance we developed this booklet to highlight why this zero-tolerance approach is important, and directing people to the INAR iReport.ie tool, so that hate incidences can be registered. The Olympic Federation of Ireland also became a member of INAR (the Irish Network Against Racism) and will support their lobbying for appropriate Hate Crime Legislation.
In Winter Olympic related news, the Head of Performance for the Winter Olympics in Beijing 2022 was appointed – former international athlete Ciara McCallion from Kildare.
A number of updates have come through for some of the sports, which you will see below, as well as upcoming significant events.
This weekend the 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships are taking place in Poland. The competition runs from the 4-7 March, and Ireland have sent a 22 person team to compete. Follow the Athletics Ireland social media accounts to keep up to date on the action. (Twitter - @irishathletics)
The qualification timeline for Badminton was revised this week also – and where originally the process finished in April, this has now been rescheduled to the 13th June. The final date of the reallocation of places will be the 5th July.
Results from Swiss Open (Bwf Tour Super 300) Olympic qualification event
Sam and Chloe Magee are back in action at the 2021 Swiss open Bwf Tour Super 300 and Olympic qualification event. The pair made it to the last 16 after beating Callum Hemming and Victoria Williams of England 21-12 21-16, but ultimately were defeated by number 7 seeds Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Hertrich from Germany (21-17, 21-8). Interview here with Badminton Europe.
Nhat Nguyen also competed at the event and out in the last 32 to World number 34 Khosit Phetpradab of Thailand. Nhat won the opening game 21-12 but lost the second 21-17 and the third 21-14.
Moya Ryan and Kate Frost also won their opening round beating Annie Lado and Victoria Williams of England 21-12 9-21 21-17, and moved into the last 16 where they were defeated by World number 14 ranked pairing of Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva from Bulgaria.
Last week the news was announced that the world qualifiers for boxing were cancelled, with the spots being allocated to the continents from that. This week we learnt that these European qualifiers will take place in Paris from the 4-8 June 2021. We have updated the chart in our link.
Here is a useful FAQ
Irish Show Jumping team manager Michael Blake has named the Irish team for the first Nations Cup of the season which takes place in Florida, USA. Read more HERE.
Leona Maguire secured a T16 finish at the Gainbridge LPGA Championship in Florida last weekend resulting in a ten place jump in the World Rolex Rankings to 167th. Stephanie Meadow (ranked 125th in the Rolex Rankings) and Maguire both compete at the LPGA Drive On Championship this weekend. Live coverage will be available on the Sky Sports Golf YouTube Channel.
Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell begin the AP Invitational at Bay Hill today on the PGA Tour.
This week Hockey Ireland announced the Softco Series which will take place in Queen’s University, Belfast. Team Ireland will take on Team GB (Olympic Champions) on the 13, 14 and 16 March. All three events will be televised, with the first two being broadcast by BBC NI, and the latter by RTÉ. We spoke with Ayeisha McFerran ahead of their competition.
World Taekwondo Restarts – Jack Woolley returns to the Sofia Open in Bulgaria on Sunday 7th Match where he hopes to return to the podium. The last World Taekwondo Open tournament was last years edition of the Sofia Open in March where Woolley secured gold. With no less than 26 qualified Tokyo Olympians attending the championships the event should prove to be an exciting and valuable excercise when returning to the ring. The -58kg fighter travels to Sofia direct from Belgrade where he has just undergone a 2 week camp with some of the world’s highest ranking athletes. The behind closed doors event will be live streamed at HERE
This week we held the first of a series of webinars with the winter athletes, where relevant issues for athletes were presented by Chef de Mission for Beijing, Nancy Chillingworth.
Rising star, Liam O’Brien, will be competing for Team Ireland at the Short Track Worlds in Dordrecht, the Netherlands (more information here). The competition runs from the 5-7 March, and O’Brien will be one of 115 athletes from 29 countries to compete at the event.
This week Pyeongchang Olympian Thomas Maloney-Westgaard is competing in the Stora Enso FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany. In yesterday’s Men’s 15.0km Interval Start Free, he finished 41st, wearing bib 1!