TEAM Ireland will be represented by a talented and particularly eclectic group of 16 athletes in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires from October 6-18.
Leading them will be Sligo’s 2017 World Junior 100m breaststroke champion Mona McSharry who will compete in 50m/100m/200m breaststroke and 50m freestyle.
Nhat Nguyen will be Ireland’s first badminton player to compete at this level and is also the team’s most recent international medallist. From Clare Hall in Dublin, he only turned 18 and sat his Leaving Certificate this summer but is already a two-time Irish senior champion. A European U17 champion in 2016, Nguyen reached the quarter-finals of the World Juniors earlier this year and recently won bronze at the European Junior Championships.
Boxers Dean Clancy (Sligo), Dearbhla Rooney (Leitrim) and Lauren Kelly (Offaly) also won medals at European Youths this year.
Karate only became an Olympic sport in 2016 so Sean McCarthy Crean (Cork), who won Karate O.N.A.K.A.I’s first European medal (silver) in Russia last February, is breaking new ground, as will golfers Lauren Crowley Walsh (Kildare) and David Kitt (Dublin) when they compete in the mixed team event (as well as individually).
Tanya Watson and Emma Slevin are also Ireland’s first diver and gymnast to compete at this level.
The quadrennial Youth Olympics are for athletes aged 15-18 and feature over 4,000 of the most talented young athletes in the world in 32-plus sports. This is their third edition and they’re designed to give aspiring Olympians the sort of ultra-competitive, multi-sport experience they may face in the future. The event also includes a culture and education programme.