Sunday 26 March 2017

Thorpe realistic about comeback

Swimming

Nine months after announcing he was coming out of retirement, five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe will finally return to action today at the FINA World Cup in Singapore.

The 29-year-old made his announcement in February and he returns to action almost exactly five years after walking away from the sport and seven years since his last international competition at the Athens Olympic Games.

Given he is racing in the 100m individual medley and 100m butterfly in Singapore, rather than his specialist freestyle, and in a short-course (25m) pool, the next couple of days will give the swimmer a return to a racing environment rather than any indication as to where he ranks on the world stage.

"I would be lying if I said I think I will be able to do this or that -- I really don't know," Thorpe said. "I have to kind of remind myself I am the guy that hasn't raced for five years."

Cricket

PAUL STIRLING was named International Player of the Year at the Cricket Writers of Ireland annual dinner in Coleraine last night.

The Middlesex right-hander, who scored three centuries in the space of four one-day international innings this year, narrowly pipping Kevin O'Brien.

O'Brien received a Special Performance award for his match-winning 113 against England in March -- the fastest century in World Cup history.

Railway Union captain Tom Fisher was voted Club Player of the Year, while the Young Player award went to U-19 all-rounder Andy McBrine.

Two local north-west heroes -- Roy Torrens, the Ireland team manager, and Ossie Colhoun -- were inducted into the RSA Hall of Fame.

Cycling

Ronan McLaughlin and Connor McConvey are the latest Irish riders to commit to the An Post Sean Kelly team, as manager Kurt Bogaerts yesterday announced they had both penned new one-year deals.

Donegal man McLaughlin has been with the team since 2008 and although he didn't take individual glory, he was a key cog in many of the team's successes last year.

"Ronan has continually progressed since he joined the team four years ago. Last year was his best season yet," Bogaerts said. "He's a really good team rider and I'm looking forward to him progressing again next season."

Bogaerts also announced the signing of two Belgian riders, Roy Jans and Stijn Ennekens.

Irish Independent

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