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Friday 18 January 2019

Heberle hoping to learn from history in 2020 Olympics role

For Heberle, the key emphasis will be to learn from both the failures and successes of past Olympic teams. Photo: Sportsfile
For Heberle, the key emphasis will be to learn from both the failures and successes of past Olympic teams. Photo: Sportsfile

Cathal Dennehy

Preparations for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo took a big step forward yesterday with the appointment of Patricia Heberle as the Irish team's chef de mission, a role that will be professional for the first time.

Heberle, a 1984 Olympian in hockey, was described as "a straight-talking Aussie with a big heart" by Peter Sherrard, CEO of the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI), at the national sports campus in Abbotstown yesterday.

The OFI also announced a new partnership with the Sport Ireland Institute which will see members of Team Ireland benefit from various support services before, during and after the Games, which begin in July 2020.

After reviewing nine locations in Japan along with representatives from Sport Ireland and its Athletes Commission, the OFI has announced the Irish team will be based in Fukuroi ahead of the Games, a city 150 miles west of Tokyo in the Shizoaka Prefecture.

The same venue will host the Irish rugby team before the 2019 World Cup.

For Heberle, the key emphasis will be to learn from both the failures and successes of past Olympic teams.

"They're often about the things we did right and making sure we recognise that, whether it's planning, athlete readiness or having the appropriate training or competition going into the Games," she said.

Irish Independent

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