The magnificent new athletics facilities at the Athlone Institute of Technology provided the perfect background for a superb Team Day for Ireland’s young European Youth Olympic squad (July 3rd).
Over 50 athletes, coaches and parents enjoyed a fact-filled day as Team Ireland got ready to challenge for medal success in The Netherlands in 10 days time.
The beautiful city of Utrecht will host this year’s event, the biggest its kind in Europe this year – and Ireland will be fielding a top notch squad in four sports – athletics, cycling, gymnastics and swimming. Over 4,000 athletes from 49 nations will compete in Utrecht.
The young members of Team Ireland listened avidly to excellent presentations from OCI personnel including Martin Burke, the chef de mission, Dr. Rod McLaughlin, the medical officer and Aidan Woods, the team’s chief physiotherapist.
Excitement and anticipation was heavy in the air and the young athletes, who are the cream of Ireland’s under 16s, were hugely impressed at the range of facilities and the level of competition expected in the host city of Utrecht and in the holding camp arranged by the OCI.
Martin Burke of the OCI commented: “We’ve had a great and informative day in Athlone and the mood of the squad is upbeat and positive in every way. I believe that we have excellent medal prospects for Team Ireland 2013”
Bobbie Begley, OCI Executive Board member echoed Martin’s comments. “These are brilliant young people, a credit to their families, schools, coaches and federations. I expect many of them to go on to compete in the senior Olympics at some stage. They are the future of Irish Olympic sport”.