Monday 9 December 2019

Irish teen Evan McGuire powers to Olympic record

Evan Maguire powers ahead
in his winning sprint at
London's new Olympic
Evan Maguire powers ahead in his winning sprint at London's new Olympic stadium.

Allison Bray

NO one can accuse Evan McGuire of being a slacker. The schoolboy has set the first 100-metre record at the new Olympic stadium in London.

His previous claims to fame include voicing -- at the tender age of 11 -- the central character in Oscar-nominated animated film 'The Secret of Kells'.

Now 17, the schoolboy from Claregalway, Co Galway, stepped up to the plate in London after champion sprint hurdler Derval O'Rourke said she wanted to see an Irish winner at the event.

And the fifth-year student at St Joseph's school in Galway, didn't disappoint her.

He set a time of 11.38 seconds -- beating 40 other competitors of all ages who were the first to run on the track at the Olympic Stadium.

Defending Olympic champion Usain Bolt will hope to shave almost two seconds off that in August but, for now, Evan holds the record.

"I came out on top," he told the Irish Independent last night.

"It's crazy, really. I didn't expect it at all. Even just getting to the stadium was an amazing experience," he said.

He was part of a group of four Irish runners who travelled with Ms O'Rourke to the 'Powerade On Your Marks' event to compete against winners from across the UK.

"For a professional athlete, I expected her to be stern but she was so nice and down to earth," Evan said of Ms O'Rourke.

"I did want to do well but having a bit of pressure from a professional athlete really helped."

Now he is determined to be an Olympic athlete, and has his sights set on the next games in 2016.

"I might as well set goals," he said. "I like to be an achiever and I think I'm capable of it."

Despite his success to date in the arts -- Evan excels in drama and music and is already a qualified piano teacher -- he is also keenly interested in competitive sport.

He is a member of the Galway City Harriers and normally runs 400m hurdles as a sprint hurdler.

"I've been running since I was five or six and I took up sprinting about five years ago," he said.

"I take it very seriously," Evan added.

And after his victory in London, it looks like nothing will stop him.

"After being here in the Olympic Stadium with Powerade and setting the first record in the stadium I definitely want to qualify for an Olympics in my lifetime," he said. "It has really shown me what is possible for the future, so hopefully I will be back competing."

Irish Independent

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