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Friday 20 July 2018

'Pick an exercise you like and have fun' - O'Donovans

Gary and Paul O’Donovan speaking at Zeminar at the RDS yesterday. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Gary and Paul O’Donovan speaking at Zeminar at the RDS yesterday. Photo: Justin Farrelly
The brothers embrace after winning the Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls final at the Rio Olympics last year. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

Olympic rowing heroes Paul and Gary O'Donovan have scaled the heights of sporting success - and it seems they have become an inspiration for a generation of young people.

There wasn't a seat to be had when the duo were due to take the stage in the main hall at the Zeminar event in the RDS in Dublin yesterday, which has brought a host of influential speakers under one roof.

The country's favourite Cork brothers took part in a question-and-answer session on stage - the event has attracted thousands of attendees from all over the country aged between 15 and 20. They didn't disappoint the fans with their advice on how to keep fit.

"Pick a few things that you really enjoy doing and have a bit of fun with it, and set some goals. Really work as hard as you can, to the best of your ability, towards it," Paul (23) said.

Meanwhile, Gary (24) told the audience: "You never regret trying something you wanted to do.

"Whatever you are doing, if you have fun, you are going to enjoy it a lot more. That is number one, whatever you have decided to do, enjoy it."

It's full steam ahead for the pair over the coming months. "We are travelling to Boston on Sunday and we are racing there next week," Gary said.

"We will be tearing into training for the winter," he said.

Ian Fitzpatrick, the co-founder of Zeminar, said that the event has attracted huge interest.

"For the workshops, we decided to hire in two really cool tents - yurts - to make them really attractive. It is almost like a festive-feel really.

"The approach we take is, it's like a window into a young person's life.

"So it is actually a very attractive event for parents as well," he said.

Professor Donal O'Shea, who was appointed by the HSE as its clinical lead for obesity last month, was also one of the guest speakers.

He told the packed auditorium that 90pc of obese kids will go on to become obese adults.

He said that research has now shown that obesity at the extreme end affects the ability of the immune system to fight off diseases.

"Your ability to run your engine, if you like, is diminished," he explained.

Irish Independent

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