Irish Olympian admits he may be forced to quit before London 2012

October 1, 2008

The 28-year-old from Dublin finished fourth in the men’s kayak in the Chinese capital but admitted he does not know if he will be able to afford to carry on until London 2012.

Rheinisch said: “If Britain showed one thing it’s that money makes medals.

“They pumped £22 million into the cycling team which is more than probably all of the sports in Ireland get and it paid huge dividends.

“You’re not looking for that kind of investment but you’re looking for some kind of security where it’s not a year-by-year thing.

“Up until now with the [Irish] Sports Council, who have supported me well for the last few years, you’re under pressure all the time.

“If you have a bad season or an injury and you drop out of that top 10 ranking, you can no longer really be a professional athlete for the following year until you get into that top 10 again, because it’s all based on criteria.

“And I know they have to do that because of budget constraints but it’s certainly something that would play on a lot of athletes’ minds.”

Rheinisch, a former World Cup winner, has reached the top despite not having a facility to train on in Ireland.

He said: “I have to travel.

“About 220 days of the year I’m out of the country and if I do stop paddling that will be one of the main reasons.

“It’s very hard to have a sense of normality, have a girlfriend, keep even your friends and family if you’re out of the country two-thirds of the year.

“We are the only country in Europe to not have one of these courses.

“It’s no surprise that France would get the silver medal; they’ve 60.

“It’s the same in Germany.

“The fella that won the race is living next door to an artificial course.

“The sport will die in this country if the kids don’t have somewhere to go and it will be an awful shame because it has been very good to us at Olympics.

“I just think we could only get better and better if we could build some kind of facility

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