One of County Roscommon’s brightest young stars will once again be at starter’s orders at the European Youth Olympic Festival, which takes place in Maribor, Slovenia from July 23rd to 29th this year.
Suck Valley Athletics Club’s Hollie Kilroe took part in last year’s competition – the largest of its kind in Europe – reaching the 400 metres final in Slovakia.
Speaking to People Sport this week, the 17-year-old, who is going into 6th year at the Convent of Mercy, said she was hoping to put her best foot forward later this month.
“I was ill last week with a virus but I’m back training this week and trying to get the speed built back up,” she said.
“I’ll be hoping to make the final again but it’s going to be a lot tougher this year with some of the times achieved out there so far this year and the number of injuries I’ve had (in the last few months)”.
A daughter of Fintan and Siobhán Kilroe from Ballybride, Hollie missed out on the Irish Indoors in March due to injury and her pathway to this year’s 42-strong Irish squad has not been straightforward due to issues with her pelvis, shin splints, and other setbacks.
The Suck Valley athlete is now training with one of the club’s founding members, Dermot McDermott, in Sligo, and last December was named as Connacht U-18 Female Athlete of the Year.
Hollie has high praise for the work she’s doing in Sligo and also for fitness coach Richie Feeney, who has helped her through injuries.
“Training is going good in Sligo. It’s different to what I was doing before and I have lots of friends up there so it’s good to be able to see them,” she said.
“I’ve been working with Richie for the past two years and it’s been a great. I love working in the gym. I’ve been really focussed on my running this year and getting back after the injuries”.
Looking ahead to Maribor, Hollie, who will once again compete in the 400 metres and medley relay, is hoping for a return to top form.
“It would be great to make the final again but I will definitely hoping for personal best times. That’s my focus right now,” she concluded.
The European Youth Olympic Festival is considered the largest multi-sport event for athletes aged between 14 and 17 on the continent. Mimicking the Olympic Games model, this year’s event will see 48 counties across Europe taking part, with around 3,600 athletes participating.