PATSY MCGONAGLE IS in Brazil ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games, which get underway tomorrow.
The Finn Valley AC chairman is the Irish Athletics team manager and will retire after the Games in Rio. Until then he will be keeping us up to date. This is his second column from Brazil.
Here in Brazil it’s very much a case of following certain daily training regimes, remaining focused and travelling to the various training locations.That might be the local park, the track, a tartan facility, gym and pool, trails on the edge of the city or just a visit to the physio. Things are going really smooth and the environment is relaxed so far.
We tend to visit these locations accompanied by military police and drive in convoy but there is absolutely no indication of any threat. The ‘Zika’ virus is not really a factor as it’s winter here so rarely would you see a fly, even though it’s 26 degrees. For me, it underlines the weakness of the golfers’ case.Indeed, this week Gary Player – an 11-times major winner – slammed the absent golfers and will himself captain the South African golf team.
The Olympics has always been the global event that sportspeople wish to be involved in. Even to qualify in itself is a massive personal achievement to be celebrated and then it’s up to you to push for a fitting performance when you arrive on that scary line, in whatever discipline you’re in.[adrotate group=”68″]I have continued to list the Donegal connections on that Olympic list glad to report it has grown in recent years.Donegal Sport Hub’s Chris McNulty will be featuring these in the coming days, having written this about the 1948 Games in London for starters.And to the present, we’ve a good representation in Rio and here’s when they are in action over the coming days.Opening ceremony is tomorrow, Friday, but the soccer has begun with many world stars named on squads. It’s an Under-23 competition but three senior players can be added, so hence, Neymar from Barcelona is on the Brazilian squad.
You meet the leading lights from every sport in the village as you go about your business. Lights from the world of tennis, soccer, basketball, athletics and the man who was the biggest star last time in London: Usain Bolt is here once more.Will the weeks ahead be any different ? That’s the joy – we just don’t know!Athletes turn up here. They have their plan and with a few tweaks they work it like that. Our job, the job of the support staff, is to support that. An interesting session yesterday, Thursday, for those into running was our marathon lads did 8 x 3km in the heat on the trails with a floating one kilometre recovery in about four minutes.
Interesting also, from a scientific point of view, as they lost as much as nine pounds on this effort, which was being monitored. They worked on replenishing body requirements immediately afterwards.On the other side of the preparation Alex Wright, our walker with Brendan Boyce from Milford and Cork’s Rob Heffernan was on track banging out a 12 x 1km. He does both the 20k and 50k walks. His recovery is a 400 metre in two minutes.These are tough sessions but we are into tapering in the coming days so recovery now is the most important in that period as we inch towards the battle.
I’m happy to report it’s all good here looking forward to All-Ireland quarter-final between Donegal and Dublin as it will kill a few hours.Sadly, as I’m about to log off here, I learn we have a problem with a boxer, Michael O’Reilly, who has tested positive for drugs and in the last hour has been suspended.You get seriously annoyed when you get news like that.