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All is set for superb Irish performances at the European Youth Olympics

July 15, 2009

The Games sees around 3,000 athletes, aged between 13 and 18, from all 49 European member countries of the International Olympic Movement compete in nine sports – athletics, basketball, cycling, gymnastics, handball, judo, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

Ireland is represented in four of these sports.  The Irish team, from North and South, includes 14 competitors in track & field athletics, four swimmers and three each in cycling and gymnastics.  The team, which consists of fifteen boys and nine girls, travels with genuine medal hopes across many of the disciplines.

Among those with serious claims is middle distance runner Ciara Mageean from Portaferry, Co. Down.  She will be hoping to add another medal to the silver she won last Sunday (July 12) in the 800m at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Italy.

Olympic silver medallist Sonia O’Sullivan is the team’s Deputy Chef de Mission.  It is Sonia’s first management role with an Irish team.

Martin Burke, who is the Olympic Council of Ireland’s Sports Director and Chef de Mission for this event, said that the inclusion of Olympic star Sonia O’Sullivan in the management team would boost Ireland’s medal chances in Finland.

“As a new member of the Olympic Council of Ireland, it allows Sonia to gain valuable management experience in seeing how sports, other than athletics, operate in a multi-disciplinary Olympic-style environment”, he said.

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