Cobh to honour Sonia with lifesize bronze statue

A lifesize bronze statute of Ireland’s most famous female athlete is to be unveiled next August in her hometown.

The statute of Sonia O’Sullivan will be unveiled on August 12, to mark the 20th anniversary of her gold medal win in the 5,000m World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The project is being funded by Cobh Tourism which wants to highlight her achievements to the many visitors who come to the town.

Hendrick Verwey, the organisation’s chairman, said the statue is costing €33,000 and they have already raised €6,000.

“The statue will be situated on the approach to Kennedy Pier and at the exit of Titanic Experience, which is one of our premier tourist attractions,” he said.

“This statue will contribute to Cobh’s sense of place and will tell the story of a world-class athlete who is proud to call Cobh home. It will also convey the immense sense of pride that Irish people have for this amazing Cobhite,” he said.

Cobh Tourism hopes to raise a significant amount of the balance by holding a Strictly Come Dancing-type event on February 13 next at the Commodore Hotel.

It is also urging local clubs and organisations to raise funds.

“If anybody out there has any money to contribute to the cause then we’d be delighted to take it off them,” Mr Verwey said.

The cast of the statue has already been made by local artist James McLoughlin, who was the successful bidder for the project.

It shows Sonia with her arms in the air, celebrating her famous gold medal which many believe was the pinnacle of her illustrious athletics career.

Mr Verwey said James McLoughlan was an artist of exceptional ability and he was looking forward to seeing the finished product.

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