Teams selected for Kecskemet Games, Hungary, June 30-July 5th
In 2005 Kerry was represented at the International Children’s Games for the first time in Coventry by a team of 20 athletes from Tralee, joined for the first time also by the city of Kecskemet, Hungary. Now, 15 years later the team from Kerry travels to Hungary for this year’s event, which will be hosted by Kecskemet, the 8th largest city in Hungary, situated along the banks of the Danube. It promises to be an exciting time for all participants in a city steeped in Hungarian culture, history and sporting achievement.
In total 107 cities have registered for the Games, with Tralee ICG the only Irish representatives, as they have been since 2009. “It’s a tremendous experience for these young athletes” said ICG chairman, Mike Culloty, “who get the once in a lifetime opportunity to compete at against their own peers at an International level this age (13-15). There is so much to be gained from a social, cultural, educational and sporting perspective for our athletes through participation at the Games, the world’s largest annual Youth-Sport event in the world, that the effort made to ensure participation each year is continually rewarding and satisfying for all of us involved”.
The team selected for Hungary will feature 10 athletes in Track and Field, 3 in Judo and 5 in Swimming. Swim coach Ger Mc Donnell was delighted to accept the invitation from the International Children’s Games for a group of swimmers to attend this year’s games in Hungary. Ger has previously travelled with the ICG to the Games in Thailand, Bahrain and Scotland and is looking forward to the experience in Kecskemet: “I can honestly say that the competition is extremely tough but this will help our athletes to bring the very best out of themselves. This swimming squad are extremely hard working and driven athletes- arguably the best group that we have ever sent to the Games-and I look forward to their performances, which I am sure will portray Tralee in the best possible light in Kecskemet”.
This will mark the 5th time that Kerry School of Judo will have players representing the club at the Games, much to the delight of head coach Danny Roche, who is of the opinion that the sporting and cultural experience of the Games is quite unique and not to missed if at all possible: “Our athletes have fought and performed well at National Level and are thrilled to have the opportunity to compete in Hungary against their peers from Israel, the Ukraine and Holland, who are always very strong in Judo. It will be a wonderful experience for everyone”.
The Track team is comprised of 6 female and 4 male athletes, who will be coached by former ICG participant in 2006 and 2007, Dearbhail Foley, now coaching with Tralee Harriers. The Games represent “a once in a lifetime experience and an athlete’s dream come-true on a world class stage” says Dearbhail: “This is our largest contingent of athletes since the Coventry Games, 2005. Thirty boys and girls attended the athletic trials at An Riocht in early February and the ten selected will perform in sprints, relays, middle distance, and field events, which this year includes the Javelin for the first time. We are all enthusiastically looking forward to the event”.
From here on in it’s all systems go as the necessary arrangements for travel, accommodation, fund raising and team preparation begin. “The children are all very excited at the prospect of travelling to the Games and competing in their chosen disciplines against athletes from America, Canada, England, South Korea and Thailand, to mention just a few of the 45 countries represented at the Games”.
The level of support in the local community is a critical aspect of continued participation, a point readily emphasised by Mike Culloty: “The participation of athletes from Kerry is simply not possible without the support of families, local communities and local businesses. As a voluntary organisation within the local community, we are acutely aware that without that level of support the athletes would never have this opportunity or experience this level of competition at such an early stage of their sporting lives. We are most grateful and appreciative of this support”.
The ICG team, with athletes from Tralee, Killarney, Listowel, Firies and Ballymacelligott, together with their parents and team coaches, held their first meeting on Friday night last at the Education Centre, Tralee, where details of travel arrangements, registration requirements and plans for the next four months were communicated to all present.
The ICG Teams for Kecskemet:
Track and Field
100m: Nicole Walker and Melissa Ahern; 400m: Rachel Neylon ; 800m: Cara Gannon
Long Jump: Lucy O Connor; High Jump: Rachel O Mahoney
100m: Samuel O Regan ; 1500m: Mohamed Abdalla; High Jump: Cian Caplis
Javelin: Cathal Murphy
Judo: Luke Costelloe, Cian Forde, Zara Ozaslan
Swimming: Cian Mason, Rory Boyd, Evelyn Fox, Anu Breheny, Grace Reidy
Delegation: John Byrne, Ger Mc Donnell, Danny Roche, Derabhail Foley, Michael Culloty and Paula Henry