Monday 23 October 2017

O'Herlihy comment courts controversy

Greg Harkin

IRISH Olympic badminton player Chloe Magee has described as "stupid" comments by RTE presenter Bill O'Herlihy that the sport used to be played "mainly by Protestants".

The sports presenter made the on-air comments after the Co Donegal woman won her opening game on Sunday night.

The 23-year-old from Raphoe won her first ever game at the Olympics and plays again today.

Speaking to the 'Shaun Doherty Show' on Highland Radio, the Olympian said religion should never be part of sport.

"We need to remember what the Olympics is all about," she said.

"I don't think it is any different from any other sport. There are people here from all over the world and from many different religions.

"I'm sure he (O'Herlihy) didn't mean to say it the way he said it."

She said she thought the comment was "stupid" and had never before heard religion mentioned in relation to badminton.

RTE has confirmed it has received a number of complaints.

O'Herlihy had said that when he was growing up "it was seen as a Protestant sport".

The comments provoked fury on social media sites yesterday.

Magee beat Egyptian Hadia Hosny on Sunday after a nervous start.

It was the first ever win at the Olympic Games for Ireland's number one female player.

She plays a must-win game today against Pi Hongyan of France.

Bill O'Herlihy was unavailable for comment last night.

Irish Independent

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