CEASC Track: A Call to Invest in the Future

June 20, 2024

Irish athletics is currently riding a wave of success that has captured the nation's attention and inspired a new generation of athletes. Catherine Carroll, the CEASC treasurer, recently shared her thoughts with Run Republic, highlighting the significance of these achievements and the urgent need for investment in sports facilities to nurture this burgeoning talent.

The recent performances and medal wins by Irish athletes have not only brought glory but have also sparked enthusiasm among young and aspiring athletes. Carroll emphasised that this success is motivating both new athletes to try the sport and current athletes to persist with their training. The message is clear: with support, Irish athletes from a small nation with a big heart can achieve great things.

For everyone involved with CEASC in East Cork, watching three Cork Olympians—Derval O'Rourke, Rob Heffernan, and Sonia O'Sullivan—on the RTE panel during the European Championships was a heartening experience. They repeatedly highlighted the importance of the team's successes for the development of the sport. Their philosophy resonated with the entire athletics community: it’s not just about winning medals, but also about inspiring movement, participation, teamwork, and personal development.

CEASC's goal is to create facilities that open doors for communities, providing opportunities comparable to those available in other European countries. The organisation aims to inspire children and adults alike to participate in athletics, fostering a sense of belonging and personal growth. This vision includes top-class facilities that are accessible to all, enabling Irish athletes to compete on an international stage.

The support from grassroots volunteers, officials, coaches, and parents is crucial for athletes like Rhasidat Adeleke, Ciara Mageean, Sharlene Mawdsley, Phil Healy, and Thomas Barr, who have acknowledged this in their success stories. The emotional impact of their acknowledgments highlights the importance of community support in developing athletes who not only succeed in sports but also gain valuable life skills off the track.

Carroll reiterated the urgent need for investment in sports infrastructure. The viewership of the European Championships exceeded that of the Late Late Show, indicating a significant public interest that should be leveraged to generate commercial revenue and financial support for the sport.

As the nation anticipates the upcoming Olympics with great excitement, the symbolism of the Olympic torch is more relevant than ever. Carroll called for the torch to be passed to those in power, urging them to respond to the long-standing calls for improved facilities. The current successes should serve as a catalyst for government and local authorities to invest in athletics, benefitting the wider community and ensuring that no enthusiastic athlete is turned away due to a lack of space or facilities.

Nicola Tuthill's story exemplifies the dedication required in the face of limited resources. Her father's initiative to construct a hammer cage from fishing nets in their back garden is a testament to the lengths families will go to support their athletes. Nicola's 9th place finish in the Europeans is a phenomenal achievement and a promising sign of what could be achieved with better facilities.

Catherine Carroll's message is a powerful call to action: prioritise the construction of sports facilities across the country, particularly in East Cork which everyone at CEASC are striving for. By investing in athletics from the ground up, Ireland can unlock its full potential, honouring a tradition that has always been a source of national pride. The recent successes have put Irish athletics firmly on the map; now, it's time to ensure that this momentum is sustained and built upon for future generations.

Featured Image: by Eric Bellamy

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