LISA Kearney has become Ireland's latest Olympic qualifier and the first ever in women's judo, writes Cliona Foley.
The tiny Belfast judoka, who weighs only seven and a half stone, competes in the Under-48kg category and was knocked out in the second round of this week's European Championships in Russia.
But her two closest rivals were also beaten, which meant they can't overtake her in the rankings -- the top 14 in the world make the cut.
A series of seven top-five places, including one silver and one bronze medal, on the World Cup circuit this year contributed to Kearney's historic qualification.
The 22-year-old is a member of the Yamakwai judo club in Belfast. She has come through five operations and is just back after a knee injury.
"It has been a long qualification process and I can't quite believe it is over," she said.
JOE WARD will have a tense wait until at least May 20 to find out the decisions of the Tripartite Commission over invitation places for the Olympics.
The Irish southpaw was controversially beaten by Turkey's Bahram Muzaffer at the European AIBA Olympic qualifiers in Trabzon last week.
The IABA lodged an unsuccessful protest at the decision, but there is still an outside chance that Ward could get an invitation.
However, the Tripartite Commission will not make any announcement until all AIBA men's and women's Olympic qualifiers are completed.
David McCann retained his third place overall at the eight-day Tour of Korea yesterday as stage five ended in a bunch sprint, writes Gerard Cromwell
Both McCann and his RTS Racing team-mate and compatriot Martyn Irvine finished safely in the bunch. McCann is just nine seconds behind race leader Jang Chan Jae.
Irish duo Dan Martin and Matt Brammeier had mixed results at the Tour of Romandie in Switzerland as British champion Bradley Wiggins held onto his yellow jersey at the end of stage two. Martin finished 21st, while Brammeier lost seven minutes.
Philip Deignan finished in the bunch on stage of the Tour of Turkey, but dropped a place to 24th overall.
THE Paralympics movement in Ireland got a major boost yesterday when it was revealed that Setanta Sports will broadcast the London Games live, writes Ruaidhri O'Connor
The channel will make their 10-hours-a-day coverage available on 'freeview' which will give 1.3m households access to the Paralympics, which run from August 29 to September 9.
"This is dreamland stuff," Paralympics Ireland chief Liam Harbison said. "It is the biggest announcement ever for us."