Monday 19 February 2018

Raw deal for two athletes

PAT HICKEY'S joke last Wednesday during the announcement of the Irish Olympic team that there had been no rows in the build-up to this year's games drew a nervous giggle from the assembled sports administrators and journalists.

"I also want to put on the record the fantastic work and co-operation that has happened in the last four years between the OCI and the Irish Sports Council," said Hickey. But in the last 48 hours, the peaceful build-up has been shattered. Denis Lynch, selected as one of Ireland's individual showjumpers, will now almost certainly be withdrawn following the events in Aachen on Thursday night, with Cian O'Connor poised to take his place.

In athletics, the hasty decision to select Catriona Cuddihy ahead of Joanna Mills in the 4x400m relay team has blown up spectacularly. The 19-year-old Mills is seen as an athlete with serious potential and is marginally quicker than Cuddihy but the treatment of both women has been shocking.

On Wednesday Cuddihy was one of 14 athletes modelling the Irish team kit and, as of now, she won't be in London following Mills' successful appeal yesterday. The Kilkenny woman was visibly upset at the National Championships in Santry. Mills too was badly treated in the first place.

All in all, another disaster that could easily have been avoided.

jgreene@independent.ie

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