One of the reasons we love sports is that we can feel the texture of greatness without having to move from our armchairs. But this week our pulses and hearts got racing as a result of a series of outstanding Irish performances at the European Championships in Munich.
Uhammad Ali despised every minute of training, but he always said to himself: “Don’t give up. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” The moral was, nothing great works if you don’t do it.
Headline-grabbing Irish athletes gave it their all.
Lightweight double sculls champions Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy once again showed they are in a class of their own.
Not only did they defend their European title and add another gold medal to their World and Olympic titles, they did so with such finesse and ease as if they had enjoyed a Sunday cruise in Skibbereen,
New standards were also set on the athletics track, where the promise of former underage competitors was fulfilled with style and self-confidence.
Israel Olatunde’s superb performance, which earned him sixth place in the 100m final and set a new Irish record of 10.17 seconds, was one to appreciate. He also became the first Irish athlete in a European 100 meter final. At only 20 years old, there is every reason to be confident that we will see much more from him.
The same certainly applies to the highly talented Rhasidat Adeleke, who is only 19 years old. She has all the qualities and discipline needed to become a star.
Her athletics scholarship to the University of Texas puts her up against some of the best in the world.
It was also a week that Ciara Mageean is unlikely to forget. After qualifying for the 1,500m final, she said, “I think I’m one of the best athletes in this field and I’m going to go out there and prove it.” Her confidence was rewarded last night with a silver medal.
Louise Shanahan of Cork pulled off a stunning run to qualify for the final of the women’s 800m final tonight.
Our hopes also rest on our 4x400m relay team consisting of Sophie Becker, Phil Healy, Rhasidat Adeleke and Sharlene Mawdsley, who casually broke the national record and reached the finals today.
All showed without a doubt that nothing can stand in the way of an indomitable will.
Further proof of this was seen at the UCI Paracycling World Road Championships in Canada. The team’s triumphant homecoming with a string of medals – gold, silver and bronze – from the road races and TTs did the nation proud. Winning may not be everything, but for the elite, the hunger for it must be satisfied.
We owe all our gratitude and admiration for the effort they have put in.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/hard-work-pays-off-as-our-athletes-set-new-standards-41924409.html Hard work pays off because our athletes set new standards