You are viewing the content for Monday 2 August 2010

Silver star O’Rourke blasts athletics chiefs

EUROPEAN silver medalist Derval O’Rourke last night launched a blistering attack on the treatment of elite athletics in this country.

The Cork native claimed that if you "don’t paddle your own canoe in Irish athletics you are going nowhere and I think that’s a little bit sad".

O’Rourke, who clocked 12.65 seconds, when coming second to Turkey’s Nevin Yarit in Saturday night’s 100m Hurdles final hopes her words will be heeded by Athletics Ireland chiefs ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

O’Rourke admitted: "I’m not necessarily happy with where High Performance sport is in athletics. But I have had to disassociate with that and just do my own thing.

"I was in hospital for appendicitis in Athens and I don’t think anybody rang me.

"Your skin gets thicker and I think it’s as thick as it needs to be right now. I just have the people that I’ve a lot of trust in and that I have a lot of faith in.

"There are loads of things that I’d like but it’s not a fairytale land. Wanting an indoor facility seems to be too big an ask. Wanting systems and structures in place seems to be too big an ask."

She also rallied against criticisms of Irish athletes insisted that there are "deeper problems" with the sport in this country.

"I don’t think the athletes are the problem. I think it’s been a bad year. There’s been a big court case that a lot of people are not taking any notice of where there’s a whole heap of money spent. The association maybe should have been more answerable about that.

"I have to really not think too hard about it. I find it hard that High Performance plans keep coming out and they’re not followed through on. I find that difficult (to understand)."

She was also angered by the treatment of David Gillick following his decision not the run the 4x400m replay on Saturday morning.

"I think with Gillick’s final none of us could have predicted the way it went. Jonathan Borlee finished seventh. We have a 44.77 sec 400m runner and it is so Irish to criticise it. He had to go to England to be able to run 44.7. There was nothing in Ireland for him.

"As a country we should be really disappointed to think that he had to go to England. Gillie loves Ireland, he loves Dublin.

"I would never criticise athletes. Everyone is working in their own little bubble."

She added: "I heard last night that he got some criticism about the relay and stuff and I think that’s a little unwarranted. I think management make decisions on relays and I don’t think it’s fair for Gillick to be criticised."

O’Rourke insisted her success has been due to her work with coaches Terri and Sean Cahill and their mantra of working with athletes on a one-an-one basis.

"For me my support system just revolves around the little team I have set up myself. I am happy with my team. We say we’re ‘Team Cahill’. We’re very separate in what we do – Ailis (McSweeney), myself, Ian McDonnell and Anna Boyle. People keep asking about Terri and Sean. They do it completely for free. They have a company, they’ve three kids and every time you take on an athlete it’s one more person calling you.

"Sean and Terri will never write a mass training programme. They’ll do everything individually. We are in a situation where we pay High Performance consultants’ fees, we pay High Performance managers but we don’t pay coaches.

"That is very strange to me. All the High Performance people are working in their own little bubbles doing the best they can. It doesn’t always work out."