BY HARRY WALSH
PATSY McGonagle has confirmed that next year’s Rio Olympics will be his last as Irish Athletics team manager.
The Ballybofey man has held the post since 1999 and next year’s trip to South America will be his fifth Olympics.
McGonagle has already visited Brazil to put in place Ireland’s Olympic training camps and he’s looking forward to leading Donegal’s largest ever representation at next summer’s games.
Mark English (800m), Brendan Boyce (50K walk), and Tori Pena (Pole Vault) have already qualified for the Games while Philip Deignan (cycling), Sinéad Jennings (rowing) and Chloe Magee (badminton) are hoping to secure their places on the plane to Rio in the coming weeks and months.
“It’s phenomenal really and there might be one or two more added to that list yet,” he said.
“It’s been a great journey but one which is nearing its natural end. It’s a lot of work to undertake – both mental and physical – each year. It’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing since I took my first team to Seville in 1999 and I’ve been to Europeans, Worlds and Olympic Games every year since then,” he said.
Prior to the Sydney Games in 2000, no one had ever done more than one Olympic cycle as Irish team manager.
“I’m proud of my achievements and I’ve enjoyed every step along the way. There’s been highlights and lowlights; athletes have been devastated and over the moon; there have been personal bests and national records.
“My next target is the Europeans in Amsterdam next June and then the Olympic games in Rio in August. After that you’re looking at another Olympic cycle (four years) and the appetite is no longer there for that. I’m happy and ready to step back,” he said.
Posted: 1:40 pm September 24, 2015