Friday, April 30, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club News: Running Shoes

Some 43 years ago I walked from my home in Ballure along the road to the old FCA hall in the heart of Calry to attend athletics training on the invitation of my neighbour Jackie McGowan. I had little idea that it was the beginning of a journey that was to shape the rest of my life. The journey that would take me from Berlin to Beijing, from Manchester to Mexico, from Sydney to Slovakia, a journey that would enable me to meet and become friends with some wonderful people all over the world. A journey that would bring me from being an athlete to a coach and then on to being an athletics official. Last Saturday evening only a few miles from where the journey began in Sligo Southern Hotel at the Athletics Ireland congress I was elected chairman of high performance. I was deeply honoured to be elected to this position to lead our high performance team in the build up to what will be the nearest thing we in this country will get to a home Olympics in London 2012. It comes at a time when we are rich in athletics talent with athletes of the calibre of Dervil O’Rourke, Paul Hession, Olive Loughnane, Mary Cullen, Rob Heffernan and David Gillick all hoping to go to Barcelona in a couple of months time and have a realistic chance of winning medals. As chair of high performance I take up the baton formally held by men of the calibre of the late Eddie Spillane, Al Guy, Christie Wall, Liam Hennessey and Patsy McGonagle. They were all people who while may not have always agreed on how they did the job I held in high regard and were all trojan workers. Now that I have been honoured with holding this position, my one ambition is that I can make a difference to the most important people in our sport which is of course the athletes. Athletics performance on the track, field, road and cross country has been my lifelong passion; high performance is now my purpose. I want also to congratulate two other Sligo people at congress who were elected to National positions, Michael O’Hart was elected onto the competitions committee and Ann McHugh was elected onto the juvenile committee. Finally this week I want to wish all our young athletes good luck who compete in the secondary schools track and field this week and any Sligo marathon runners who compete in the Belfast Marathon this week.

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