Saturday 10 December 2016

Blowing whistle on racism

Published 21/11/2011 | 05:00

•We were always taught growing up that to play sports was a great way to mingle, to have teamship, discipline, learn leadership, have companionship and focus on the spirit of helping one another. Years ago, there was no barrier in sports, no racism of any kind, whether it be in education -- it did not matter if you had a university masters degree or primary certificate in school as long as you had a skill in sport, you were welcomed with open arms in a club! No barrier, money wise, no barrier at all, which was a great thing. I'd hate to see any form of discrimination or racism creep into the sports arena.

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As a kid in the fifties and sixties, we used model ourselves on Ronnie Delaney and many of the great Irish sportsmen as they had integrity, discipline, great spirit, sportsmanship and true grit. Some of the male footballers today to me are a little too feminine and outside of sports behave like animals and that is an insult to animals. However, we could look up to many sportsmen in their heyday as an inspiration to follow in their chosen sport.

As kids, if we were sent on a message to the shop we were told to hurry and run like Ronnie Delaney. Ronnie winning the Olympic 1500m gold medal in Melbourne in 1956 brought the country to a standstill of joy and he was only 21 years of age. It was an amazing achievement to do during that time when Santry Stadium and the like were not a glint in anyone's eye.

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