As she climbed the podium in Hungary to receive first prize in the European Masters Powerlifting Championship, the sound of Amhrán na bhFiann playing over the speakers, Cork grandmother Karen Barry felt an immense rush of pride.
There’s never been a World Championships quite like these, and the jury is out on whether that’s a good thing. From the captivating energy of Beijing 2015 to the thronged stands of London 2017, we find ourselves here, in Doha, Qatar, wondering just what the sport and its athletes have done to deserve this.
Five days from today Ireland’s dressage team will commence their bid for honours and a possible Tokyo 2020 place when the European Championships get under way in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The Championships feature Dressage, Show Jumping and Para-Dressage, and it will be the dressage competition that gets the whole affair underway on Monday.
Her routine is simple, its execution less so: three to four hours a day on the water, another 90 minutes in the gym — 14 to 16 sessions each week, all adding up to one exhausted athlete by the time Jenny Egan crumples into bed on a Saturday night.