Sonia in line for Olympic Council role

SONIA O’SULLIVAN is poised for a plum position on the Executive Committee of the Olympic Council of Ireland.

The Olympic silver medallist is one of 15 nominees for the seven positions on the executive to be elected at the AGM at the Croke Park Convention Centre on October 31.

She has been nominated by Football and, on account of that, is likely to be proposed to delegates from the 33 Olympic sports by the Second Vice-President of the OCI, John Delaney, which virtually assures her election.

The superstar from Cobh represented Ireland at three Olympic Games. She made her debut in 1992 in Barcelona where she had the bronze medal snatched from her by Angela Chalmers (Canada), in the final strides of the now discontinued women’s 3,000m.

There was consternation in Atlanta four years later when, as world champion, she failed to finish the inaugural women’s 5,000m final. It was in Atlanta also that she became embroiled in the infamous “gear row.”

She returned in Sydney in 2000 to claim her long overdue Olympic medal — silver behind Gabriela Szabo in the 5,000m — and seal what was a spectacular career at global level.

She is the most decorated Irish athlete of all time. Apart from her Olympic silver medal she has three European gold medals — 3,000m in 1994 and 5,000m/10,000m in 1998. She won the 5,000m title at the world championships in Gothenburg in 1995 and won back-to-back long and short course titles at the world cross-country championships in Marrakech in 1998.

She is one of three nominees from athletics going before the meeting. Bobby Begley from Mullingar is the outgoing representative from that particular sport and is likely to be re-elected while it is understood that the Athletics Ireland nominee Pierce O’Callaghan will withdraw in favour of O’Sullivan.

Rower Sam Lynch, a double Olympian, has also been nominated. Like Sonia O’Sullivan, the Limerick man is a former world champion and, it would appear, is poised to add new blood to the OCI Executive.

The new executive will serve up to and including the London Games in 2012 following which there will be dramatic changes at the top table with a number of prominent officials set to retire including the President, Pat Hickey, who is unopposed again this year as are the First Vice-President Willie O’Brien, Second Vice-President John Delaney, Hon General Secretary Dermot Sherlock, and Honorary Treasurer Peader Casey.

The 15 candidates for the seven positions on the Executive Committee are: Susan Aherne — Volleyball (outgoing); Mary Baneham — Basketball (outgoing); Bobbie Begley — Athletics (outgoing); Tony Colgan — Basketball; Peter Crowley — Sailing; Dermot Henihan — Rowing (outgoing); Billy Kennedy — Cycling (outgoing); Kevin Kilty — Clay Pigeon Shooting; Mike Kindle — Baseball (outgoing); Mary Logue — Hockey; Tommy Murphy — Boxing; Pierce O’Callaghan — Athletics; Sonia O’Sullivan — Athletics; Tom Rafter — Fencing (outgoing); Sam Lynch — Rowing.

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