Wednesday 24 May 2017

Where are they now?

BRENDAN QUINN

(Former athlete)

It was an early liking for boxing that led former Olympian Brendan Quinn to athletics. He grew up in Meath and boxed with the local club in Trim but it was the running part of the training that Quinn really enjoyed so when his family moved back to Waterford, he joined De La Salle Athletic Club and his career took off from there.

Quinn went on to enrol in Providence University in the United States where John Treacy and Ray Treacy were students.

"It was a big step up from what was available to us at the time, it really gave us an opportunity to train as professionals and the level of competition was high," says Quinn.

"It's a wonderful spot to be in for that under 23 period of your career. You're in a fairly protected environment and if you want to take advantage of that and train hard, you can do that. However, it doesn't suit everyone but it certainly suited me."

Quinn qualified for the 1988 Olympics. He had been injured for the previous two so making the grade was a dream come true for him. He also ran in numerous European and World athletic championships and regards these as a better experience.

"The Olympics were a great experience but it is more of an event. It's great to say you are an Olympian, you are part of an elite bunch of people but a huge amount of pressure goes with that. However, I think it's good for young athletes to get exposed to that."

But it was his first World Championships in 1983, where he ran the 3,000m, that he counts as his most memorable race. He was only 23 at the time and it was the year that Eamonn Coghlan won the gold medal. For Quinn, to be part of the team was amazing.

Quinn is the managing director of Calmark Europe and he is still very involved with his local club Ferrybank, coaching the juveniles and youths.

Today he is in Spain for the World Cross-Country Championships watching his son compete in the junior race. Shane is the national and schools junior champion and is one of Irish athletics' bright hopes for the future.

"It's an exciting time for athletics. We have a super crop of young people coming through and there are lots of committed people involved. Today will be a great experience for Shane.

"I have always really encouraged him to have fun with athletics. He is very focused on his game and he loves it. He is very competitive -- I didn't instil that in him, he has that."

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