BY CHRIS MCNULTY
DONEGAL Olympian Chloe Magee received a significant boost on Wednesday when she collected the keys for a 12-DL Toyota Rav 4 from Kelly’s Toyota, Letterkenny, who have provided her with the use of her new wheels for her Olympic year.
The 23-year old Raphoe woman made a flying visit home from Dublin on Wednesday to pick up the eye-catching white Rav 4, which she will use to shuttle her from venue-to-venue as her Olympic preparations gather pace.
In December, Magee confirmed her place at the games in London when she reached the quarter-finals of the Irish Championships in Lisburn. She will now join the elite band of names who are ‘double Olympians’.
Four years ago, she competed in Beijing and she was the picture of cool as she shot her way to a first round win over Katie Tolmoff. She returned to Raphoe to a rapturous welcome and the experience of Beijing funnelled a desire to get back on the Olympic stage – at what is as close to a ‘home’ Olympics as Irish athletes will get. Magee has continued to climb the ladder since Beijing and confirmation of her attendance at the Games in London means that her stock rises again.
Evidence of the standing of the Raphoe pocket-rocket was there with the confirmation of the timely sponsorship deal from Kelly’s Toyota.
“It’s just unbelievable. I am in complete shock,” said Magee, who was joined by her dad Sammy, sister Naomi and their niece Ella Thompson at the handover of the keys to the jeep on Wednesday.
“It really does feel unbelievable to be honest.
“It’s unreal that someone is backing my career like this. It’s a real reward for all the hard work that I’ve been doing and it’s such a boost that people believe in me enough to make a commitment.
“It’s given me a real boost and it’s made me determined to succeed to sort of repay people for their generosity.”
The team at Kelly’s Toyota were only too glad to help out Chloe in her big year.
“Kelly’s Toyota in Donegal are delighted to be associated with Chloe Magee in her upcoming bid for Olympic Glory,” said Brendan Kelly.
“Her determination, ambition and drive to be No 1 in her chosen field are synonymous with the values and beliefs held by Kelly’s Toyota who were the No 1 choice when it came to motoring in both Donegal in 2011.
“We hope that the linking of our recognised brand with her rising status as a successful sports person will have many mutual benefits for us both in the future.
“We hope that Chloe has a truly successful time in London and wish her well in her Olympic dreams.”
The move could hardly have been more timely for Magee as it came in the week leading up to the National Badminton Championships, which take place this weekend in Baldoyle.
Chloe is defending her singles and mixed titles and is hoping to win a sixth national title this weekend while she and brother Sam are gunning for what would be a fifth doubles title. Sam is also in action in the men’s doubles.
Since booking her London ticket in December, Magee managed to get a week back in Raphoe at Christmas, but it’s been down to work again since.
“It’s going good,” she said. “I’ve been doing a lot of fitness work, strength and conditioning. It’s been hard work, but it has to be done.
“Before Christmas, it was all tournaments, but now I can play more freely and enjoy it more with no pressure.”
The National Championships get underway tomorrow morning. After that, she’ll take part in the German Open and the All-Englands as well as taking to the European Team Championships in Amsterdam.
All the while, though, the clock is ticking to London and the mileage on the Rav 4 is likely to have significantly grow when showtime comes around.