Daniel Ryan – Decathlete Profile

December 22, 2015

Tipperary might be known for being the home of hurling, but Two-Mile Borris teenager Daniel Ryan is hoping to join an elite list of Tipperary natives who have represented Ireland at Olympic Games. Run Republic spoke to Daniel about how he got involved in athletics and his plans and ambitions for the future.

 Favourite Song
Favourite Movie
Lord of the Rings
Favourite TV Show
Favourite Sports Team
Golden State Warriors (NBA Team)
Favourite thing to do when you’re not training
Listen to music, catch up with friends, cook and eat good food, look at biomechanics of various athletics events and watch related videos (If I'm honest I'm a bit of an athletics nerd!) I also love watching basketball.

How did you get involved in athletics?

I was always able to beat everyone at the primary schools sports day so I guess my mum saw my talent as a youngster. She was an athlete in her youth and won some Community Games and AAI sprints medals so she was from a rather athletic background.

I can remember one particular time I was sick but insisted that I went in for the sports day. Later on in the day the principal at the time said to Mum she never saw anything like that from someone who was sick. I started with my local athletics club Moycarkey Coolcroo at the age of 7 and I have enjoyed every bit of it since.

What has your journey to becoming an athlete been like so far?

I began at the very bottom rung of the ladder competing at the parish sports days and progressed to County, Munster, National and finally International Championships. I had 2 main rivals at county level for a good few years. Michael Gorman from Newport and Jay Culleton from Roscrea were the two lads and we used to always exchange places on the podium.

It was great having that type of competition to bring you on as a youngster. I never really won a huge amount due to the speed of my growth and my nerves. I had the odd spell of good performances at Munster Championships when I was very young picking up the odd medal but it was enough for my family to realize my potential.

I eventually made a major breakthrough when I was U/13 breaking my first ever record in any event by running 10.01 seconds in the 60m hurdles in Nenagh at the Munster Indoor Championships. Since then I have always had the desire to break records and I haven't really looked back. I now have roughly 49 records spanning from Munster to Irish to International records.

I always get a buzz off breaking them I never settle just for a medal if there is a record then it's going to be shot at. I earned my first Irish jersey in first year at the Schools International Athletics Board Combined Events Championships. It's between Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales and to be honest I was buzzing putting on the Irish colours.

For some strange reason though I had absolutely no nerves that day and I wasn't too sure to be happy or worried about it. It didn't phase me though and I ended up finishing in 6th place behind 4 English athletes and a Scottish athlete. It was a great experience and once again I wanted more. To date I have represented Ireland a total of 8 times and putting on the Irish jersey always gives me that extra boost that makes me go that extra mile.

Up until the end of the 2014 Season my Mum and Dad coached me under the guidance of Jerry Lyons. I'm forever grateful for all the work my parents have put in for me. They have driven me to every track in the country at this stage for coaching courses, training, competitions and physio. I owe them a huge amount and whenever I step out on the track it's not only for myself but it is also for them. I have been fortunate enough to have my parents actively involved in my athletics career so I definitely do it for them too. Not to mention my siblings also who help me get me where I want to be and give me a good hiding at training some days. They keep me on my toes and keep me motivated.

So far I have absolutely loved the sport because of the amazing friends I have made, the memories, the success and also the disappointments most importantly. I have learned a lot about myself and how to conduct myself when things go badly. It has helped me mature and develop as a person and has not and never will stop me from reaching my goals. My competitive nature has certainly bloomed over the years and now no matter what it is I'm doing I'm going to want to beat you. I love being the best and I love working towards my goals.

What has been your greatest achievement been to date?

I'd have to say qualifying for the European Youth Olympics Festival in Tbilisi, Georgia last summer. Despite finishing in 4th place and being honest having a rather disappointing performance compared to what could have been it was certainly a very memorable experience. I learned a lot and gained some valuable experience like how to cope in the sweltering heat or how to manage yourself when things don't go to plan. I suppose another great achievement in my eyes is winning the SIAB CE in Glasgow in 2014. I was a year out of my age and to come out on top was amazing. I was elated and it was one of my most memorable days in my career so far.

How do you motivate yourself before an event?

I put the headphones on, listen to some rap or motivational videos about Michael Jordan or something. It gives me a tingle throughout my body and the adrenaline really starts pumping. I find I have to put a real stern look on my face and blank everything out to get in my zone. I have tried different ways and that's definitely the one that works for me. My desire to win and succeed has blossomed over the years and before any race or event I think about how much harder I've worked and that whoever it is that wants to win will have some job to get it because I won't make it easy for them.

What are your current PB's and your future goals:

100m: 11.16 seconds

200m: 22.65 seconds

60m: 7.20 seconds

LJ: 7.10m

110mH: 14.08 seconds

Shot Putt: 15.97m

60mH: 8.12 seconds.

HJ: 1.82m

Discus: 39.45m

My main goal this season is to compete at the European Youth Championships and go one better by winning a medal in the Decathlon. Ultimately I want to win the Olympics which is no surprise. I have my eyes on European Juniors, World Juniors, World University Championships, European U/23 Championships right on up to senior championships.

I will be looking to do the Decathlon because I have always been able to do any event. Any event I have chosen to do I have always been able to win. I love the sport and despite the negative vibes there are at the minute surrounding the sport it still hasn't tainted my opinion on how great a sport it is. It gives me an overwhelming joy that can't be filled by anything else.

The sheer feeling of overachieving and seemingly fulfilling your potential only to realize it is only the tip of the iceberg is something that I cherish. You will always have something that you need to work on and that element of the sport really appeals to me and keeps me on my toes 

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