Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ireland's Athletes

Well done to Ireland's athletes who performed well in the World Championships in Berlin, only one year after being tarred as failures at the Beijing Olympics by the media. A silver medal for Olive Loughnane in the 20km race walk, and superb performances in sprints by Derval O'Rourke (4th and a new Irish record in the 100m hurdles) and David Gillick (6th in the 400m). These performances are phenomenal from athletes that often labour alone with little official support and are forever dependent on the benevolence of sponsors willing to invest money in unfashionable non-stars. They deserve better than the pillorying they've been getting in recent years by armchair critics and deserve better than the outrageous snubbing delivered them by RTÉ in its decision not to cover the Championships.


janeruffino said...

Not to mention that BBC NI, where I'd been watching the coverage up until today, decided to pre-empt the last day of the events with GAA. Pretty disgusting, if you ask me. Lisa Dobriskey of the UK took a silver medal in the women's 1500m, and nobody in Northern Ireland will have been able to watch it with BBC commentators, who were *much* better than the idiots on Eurosport.

It's pretty sad that RTE didn't cover it, and I don't think a lack of funds is any excuse. Athletics is one of the sports where Ireland can definitely compete internationally, even before you factor in the teensy population when compared to the competition. If Ireland doesn't start supporting its athletes better, they'll end up like the Kenyans, running for countries who will.

Any idea if they've skipped covering international rugby when Ireland was playing abroad? I just don't know enough to comment, although my gut tells me that when Ireland competes abroad in rugby, a media coverage team goes with them.

Also wondering how many papers sent their German correspondents to cover it.

seanachie said...

Well, I can't really fault BBC NI for prioritising the All-Ireland semi-final. But to snub the entire Championships, as RTÉ did is shameful. And don't get me started about the favoured status rugby has enjoyed in Montrose since long before professionalism and the Heineken cup...