Kildare’s Olympic hopes took a dent this week when spint rower Neil Fleming missed out on qualfication last Thursday, May 17.
The Celbridge man came fifth in the semi-final of the European Qualifiers in Poznan, Poland writes Conor McHugh.
At the very least he needed to get into the finals to be in with a chance of qualifying.
Mr. Fleming admitted he was “gutted” with the result, but was more disappointed with his own performance than anything else.
“I didn’t pace myself. I went out too hard and was actually leading by the first quarter, and at the half way point I was down a few places but still in the qualification.”
This is the second time Neil has missed out on Olympic qualification. While he’s disappointed, he says the four intervening years have given him some perspective.
“The Olympics is the pinnacle of the sport, but I didn’t get into it to do the Olympics. I did it because I love it, and I’ll continue with it on that basis.”
Meanwhile as we were going to press, Caroline Ryan, who recently won a bronze medal in the World Track Cycling Championships was racing in Quebec, Canada. She and fellow Irishwomen Olivia Dillon and Siobhan Horgan are attempting, between them, to score enough points in the race to guarantee a place for Ireland in the Olympics.
Only then will a decision be made as to which of them will be going to the Olympics.
If they fail to get the points, there’s still a possibility that Ireland could get a ‘wildcard’ entry to the games.
Speaking to the Leinster Leader, Caroline’s father, Johnstownbridge man Willie Ryan explained that she has been battling the effects of a chest infection for the past few weeks and isn’t at her best.
Otherwise he feels she could have decided qualification at an similar event in Belfast last weekend where she placed 20th.
However, there’s at least one bit of good news. She has secured a place on the British team ‘Matrix Fitness-Prendas’ and will, this coming Friday, May 25 will be in the Netherlands to race the Valkenburg Hills Classic with them.
Keep an eye on www.leinsterleader.ie for more details as they emerge.