Ireland’s fastest man Israel Olatunde returns home with a hero’s welcome

The fastest man in Irish history didn’t let up as he returned home from the final day of the European Championships in Munich to celebrate his achievement with friends and family.

Printer Israel Olatunde left the Bavarian capital ahead of the closing events of the competition that engraved his name on Ireland’s sporting records to return to a hero’s reception.

The Dundalk native was greeted by a group of supporters at Dublin Airport as he flew home late last night.

Applause erupted from spectators in the Terminal 2 arrivals hall as they realized they were in the company of Ireland’s newest sporting sensation.

“I was looking forward to coming home. It means the world to me to be with the people who have helped me get to where I am,” said Mr Olatunde, 20.

“It’s going to be great to update my family on everything that’s happened and I’m really excited for what’s to come next,” he added.

The news that Ireland’s Mark English had won a bronze medal in the men’s 800m final a few hours earlier added to the happy atmosphere in the group.

Mr Olatunde’s parents Elizabeth and Isaac, brother Gabriel and sister Sharon rushed to hug him after he returned from his first major outdoor championship.

A group of friends held up a banner that proudly saluted: “Welcome home Ireland’s fastest man.”

“It was a great week. We are so happy that all the sacrifices Israel has made have brought such a result,” his father said. .

“We just prayed a lot that everything would be fine,” he added.

Mr Olatunde’s mother, who is credited with having his sporting DNA, described the reaction in Ireland to her son’s performance last week as “overwhelming”.

“He’s so determined and hardworking, but I don’t know where he gets his energy from,” she said.

The proud parents, who arrived in Ireland from Nigeria in 1999, said, holding their tricolours, that they were looking forward to organizing some family celebrations in Dundalk over the next few days.

Isaac said his son is also determined to complete his senior year in computer science at UCD, despite an influx of offers from colleges across the US this week after his record-breaking performance in Munich.

The student has been making headlines since he set a new Irish record in the men’s 100m final with a time of 10.17 seconds in Munich last Tuesday in a race in which he finished sixth.

His performance in his landmark season in senior sport competitions has raised expectations that he will be a major force in Irish athletics for years to come.

“For now, I’m going to take a little break and just recharge before returning for next season,” he said. Ireland’s fastest man Israel Olatunde returns home with a hero’s welcome

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