Both girls are powered by steely determination and whatever happens in Tokyo, you can be sure they will leave everything they have in the arena
When boxer Aoife O’Rourke and para-cyclist Richael Timothy enter their respective arenas in Tokyo this summer, they will do so with not just their home towns, but the entire weight of County Roscommon behind them.
The 2020 Tokyo Games will already be a week underway when Aoife hears the opening bell for her first bout. The Opening Ceremony takes place this Friday night but there will already have been soccer and softball matches played by then (Wednesday and Thursday).
By now, we are all aware of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had and the extra year many athletes have had to wait for their shot at Olympic glory.
Aoife booked her place at the games during June’s Olympic Qualifiers at the Grand Dome in Paris. The 2019 European Middleweight Champion’s performances there have raised expectations for what may lie ahead. At just 24 years of age, this may be her first dance on the biggest stage of all, but her coach at Castlerea Boxing Club, Paddy Sharkey, reckons Paris may see even more fancy footwork from the Tarmon girl in three years’ time.
The feeling on the ground in Castlerea will soon be one of fevered excitement but according to those who know her best, Aoife won’t be carried away by it all. Her performances in Paris and in Madrid in 2019 suggest there’s far more to come and the hope will be to gain more ring experience and add to her already burgeoning reputation.
Ballymoe’s Richael Timothy will be one of the first Irish athletes in action at this year’s Paralympic Games. She’ll be ready for the off on August 24th when she competes in the 3K Track Pursuit.
It promises to be a busy 2020 Games for the former international soccer player and Roscommon footballer as she will also be in action in the 500m Time Trials on both track and road and also the Road Race.
Richael has had to wait a year for this opportunity but has previous medal form, winning bronze in the scratch race at the World Championships in Milton, Canada in early 2020.
Both girls are powered by steely determination and whatever happens in Tokyo, you can be sure they will leave everything they have in the arena.