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Friday 28 April 2017

'It will be like Cork's version of Coppers!' - Rob Heffernan to finally get his Olympic medal in his hometown today

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Over four years after walking the race of his life in London, Rob Heffernan will finally get his hands on his Olympic medal.

The Cork race walker came fourth in the 50k event at the 2012 games, but was upgraded to bronze after Russian gold medalist Sergey Kirdyapkin was disqualified for doping offences.

Heffernan, who came sixth at the same event in Rio last summer, opted to be presented with the medal in a homecoming event in Cork this afternoon, and told Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio One today that he doesn't feel particularly cheated to have missed out on a podium celebration.

"I'm grateful," he said.

"I put in such a great performance that day. Nobody has a divine right to win an Olympic medal. Something as small as shaving my head and getting sunburnt could have cost me in Rio. You have no right to win a medal.

"Maybe down the road when I have the medal, I'll think it would have been great to get it in London but to get it in Cork will be very special."

Heffernan will receive his bronze medal at City Hall in Cork today, before moving on to Soho Bar on Grand Parade for a celebration.

The hometown hero is looking forward to mingling with friends, family and well-wishers, and sounded particularly excited to turn the Cork establishment into a well-known Dublin nightspot for the occasion.

"There is meant to be a thousand people there," Heffernan said of the Cork reception.

"Soho Bar is being opened up, it will be like Cork's version of Coppers! I'm looking forward to the social side of it to be honest. I'm looking forward to chatting to everyone. I'm looking forward to chatting to the kids and hopefully I can inspire a new generation, that would be special for me."

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