The University of Limerick bids farewell to nine Irish Olympic and Paralympic Athletes

Thursday, 19th July 2012 Tags: University of Limerick, UL Athletes at London Olympics, University Arena,

Ireland’s Sporting Campus at the University of Limerick bids farewell to nine Irish Olympic and Paralympic Athletes as they head for London 2012

The President of the University of Limerick, Professor Don Barry, has sent the best wishes and the support of the University of Limerick community to the nine  Irish Olympic Athletes based at UL as they travel to London ahead of competing in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The nine athletes include both UL students and UL graduates as well as those who use the state-of-the-art sports facilities at the University as their training base.  They are: Colin Griffin, 50k walker; Grainne Murphy, 800 freestyle swimmer; Jessie Barr, athletics; Cathriona Jennings, marathon; Gavin Noble, Olympic triathlon; Rachel Vanderwal, Great Britain basketball squad; Shane Ryan, Paralympic rower; James McCarthy, Paralympic Shot Putt, and Jonathon McGrath, Paralympic swimmer.

Speaking about the Olympic athletes, Professor Barry said; “On behalf of the University of Limerick, I want to wish every success to all our athletes competing in the London Olympics and Paralympics. They are part of the University of Limerick community and the students and staff of the University will be supporting them whole-heartedly.”

The London 2012 Olympic Games begin on the 27th July and the London 2012 Paralympics begin on the 29th August. Colin Griffin, Grainne Murphy, Gavin Noble, Jessie Barr and Cathriona Jennings will be representing Ireland at the London 2012 Games, while Rachel Vanderwal will represent Great Britain.  Shane Ryan, James McCarthy and Jonathon McGrath will be representing Ireland at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Ronald Claes, Head Swim Coach for Team Ireland and Gerard Hartmann, Olympic Council of Ireland Medical Team, both of whom are based at the University of Limerick, have also travelled to London this week.

International Olympians who have undertaking their preparatory training at the University of Limerick include Delloreen Ennis, Jamaican Olympic 100M Hurdler; Kristal Kobrich, Chilean Olympic 800M Freestyle; Paula Radcliffe, Great Britain, Olympic Marathon; Vivian Cherviyot, Olympic 5000M and 10,000M and the Vietnamese Paralympic Team are based at UL from July 19th to August 10th ahead of the London Paralympic Games in August.

Sport at UL
The University of Limerick has a unique role in Irish sport, including responsibility for the provision of teaching and research programmes in Physical Education and Sports Science. Known as Ireland’s Sporting Campus the University boasts state-of-the-art facilities including the University Arena which houses Ireland’s first National 50m swimming pool; 4 indoor courts; 60m six lane indoor sprint track; 225m three-lane suspended jogging track; cardio fitness centre and fitness studio as well as the National Strength and Conditioning centre. The National 50m swimming pool provides an excellent training and competition facility and is home to the High Performance Centre for Swim Ireland. 

UL recently opened a state-of-the-art, all-weather sports complex on the Clare Campus of the University. The new €9 million facility is the largest all-weather sports field complex in Europe. This multi-purpose, fully-floodlit synthetic grass park contains third generation pitches including two soccer, one rugby and two GAA pitches. This is the largest artificial grass development in Ireland to date, designed to IRB, GAA and FIFA specifications.
The University of Limerick has also recently opened Ireland’s first residential altitude training centre. The state-of-the-art facility provides elite sportspeople the opportunity to undertake altitude training while also availing of the world-class sports facilities on campus at UL. Athletes from all endurance sports; athletics, swimming, rowing, cycling, triathlon, boxing and team sports such as rugby, football, hockey can benefit from altitude training. With no natural high altitude site available in Ireland, many Irish athletes have been forced to travel abroad to training at considerable financial cost.