Saturday 24 March 2018

Where are they now?

Patricia Amond-Lawler (Athlete)

IN 1979, Patricia Amond-Lawler travelled to Chicago to compete in the All-American High School Championships. She was just 17 at the time and her athletics career was in its infancy.

However, she was on the brink of an amazing feat. In a field of world-class athletes, the teenager finished second in the 200 metres behind future world champion Merlene Ottey of Jamaica.

Amond-Lawler's athletics career took off from there and the following year she was crowned Irish schools champion. Soon after she moved from Carlow to Dublin to work and joined Dublin City Harriers.

Over the next decade the sprinter won a series of national titles and competed internationally. In 1985, at the Europa Cup in Iceland, she won gold in the 400m. It was her greatest achievement as an athlete.

"I was coming second with 40 yards to go," explains Amond-Lawler. "I could see the girl in front of me buckling and I was buckling but I kept digging and digging and I got there. It was an amazing feeling winning that race; John Treacy and Tom O'Riordan were the first over to me after the race."

She competed in the 4x400 relay at the World Championships in Rome in 1987, setting an Irish record in the process, and in 2000 she won the European Masters in Finland in both the 100m and 200m.

Amond-Lawler has three children who are all involved in athletics. Eighteen-year-old Marcus is already following in his mothers footsteps; he is Irish schools champion and was recently selected to run in the 200m at next weekend's European Team Championships in Santry.

Her other two children, 16-year-old Grace and Maurice who is 12, are also sprinters. Amond-Lawler coaches all of them and she has plenty of experience to share.

"It's so scientific now. I used to train two or three days a week and I wasn't in the gym. It's all about strength and conditioning now. John Coghlan from the Crusaders helps me with the coaching, he's very good. We try and keep it simple, train well and not over-train."

Amond-Lawler is eagerly anticipating the European Team Championships. She will be nervous watching Marcus racing but she hopes that he can enjoy it.

"It goes by in a flash. I encourage him to take it all in because there may come a time when you can't run because of injury or illness so you have to make the most of it."

Irish Independent

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