Sinéad Diver Mayo AC and Australia team Tokyo 2020
After all the postponements and cancellations the athletics schedule of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics began last Friday. We’ve already seen new world and Olympic records, a high level of competition, tears of joy from medal winners and of disappointment from many athletes.
It’s the familiar agony and ecstasy associated with the newly updated Olympic motto : “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”.
Ireland still look to celebrate an athletics medal of any hue since Sonia O’Sullivan’s silver 5,000m in Sydney 2000.
However, across Mayo and the West excitement mounts as we look forward to seeing Belmullet native Sinéad Diver compete in the women’s marathon. It is with great pride we celebrate Mayo AC’s first Olympian as she represents her adopted nation Australia.
Sinéad has been a club member since 2014. We have followed her amazing progress and achievements in a range of distances. Her dream of representing the country of her birth was shattered prior to Rio 2016. She expected Athletics Ireland would move to support her when she achieved the qualification time in the marathon. The response from our governing body was to move the goalposts and lower the qualification time by 45 seconds. That decision has served as a huge added incentive for Sinéad as she trained in Melbourne.
Her brilliant pbs in the Marathon Majors and World
Championships underlined her progress and enabled her to qualify to represent Australia in the Tokyo Olympics.
Under coach Nic Bideau at Melbourne Track Club she has joined a group of elite athletes and become global star.
Her selection is a reminder to those in Irish athletics of what might have been.
She sits near the top of the Irish-born lists for 10,000 metres, half-marathon and marathon. Her 2:24.11 marathon personal best in the London Marathon 2019 is second only to Catherina McKiernan.
Sinéad is the sixth Mayo born Olympian in athletics: Martin Sheridan 1904, 1906, 1908; Sean Lavan 1924, 1928; Monica and Regina Joyce 1984, Deirdre Gallagher 1996. And she is one of just ten Olympic competitors from Mayo in all sports: add to those above John Ryan Judo 1964, Damien Gardiner Equestrian 1996, David O’Loughlin Cycling 2008, and Nicholas Quinn Swimming 2016.
And so we look forward to her competing on this coming Saturday morning at the Odori Park area in Sapporo. The marathon event was moved 831km north to avail of cooler safer temperatures for competitors. Race start is at 7am local time on Saturday morning – 11pm Friday night in Ireland.
There won’t be any need to set alarms.
Kettles will be boiled. Fingers crossed.
In Sapporo, both the men’s and women’s marathon races will start and finish at Odori Park. After running two laps around the park, runners will tackle a three-loop race route.
The first large loop is about the length of a half-marathon, and then runners will face a second, shorter loop, which measures about 10 kilometres and must be completed twice
Sinéad will be joined on the Australian marathon team by Lisa Weightman and Ellie Pashley. There are currently 89 entries on the startlist.
Ireland will be represented by Fionnuala McCormack and Aoife Cooke.
In the men’s race on Sunday morning (11pm Saturday night GMT) Ireland’s competitors are Stephen Scullion, Paul Pollock and Kevin Seaward.
We wish them all the best of luck.
For us at Mayo AC it’s a great honour to have our first Olympian. Sinéad Diver is an inspiration to all who aspire to be the best they can be – ‘no limitations’ is a big part of her philosophy.
We wish her the very best of luck – Go Sinéad, agus go n-éirí an t-ádh leat!