MEDAL QUEST FOR RHEINISCH

LEIXLIP’S Salmon Leap Canoe Club was in celebratory mood last Thursday evening as they bid farewell to three time Olympian Eoin Rheinisch.

LEIXLIP’S Salmon Leap Canoe Club was in celebratory mood last Thursday evening as they bid farewell to three time Olympian Eoin Rheinisch.

The club hosted a special event in their club house for their very own seven time World Cup finalist Rheinisch.

The men’s K1 slalom athlete headed for London with Team Ireland on Sunday last and will take to the course at the Lee Valley White Water Centre on July 29.

Rheinisch, along with his girlfriend Ciara and his mother Margaret were among the crowd in the packed club house and the 32-year-old athlete is sure to see many of the same faces in London on Sunday week.

“I know of 25 to 30 people coming over to watch. To get hold of tickets with the price of them, I’m delighted. I’ve come here tonight and there’s a few faces I haven’t seen in ages that have been telling me they have tickets so it’s fantastic,” he told the Leinster Leader.

Club manager Tom Egan spoke about the proud tradition the Salmon Leap club have of producing top class Olympic standard athletes. Members of the club have represented Ireland at every Olympic Games from 1972 to 2012.

“It all began with Gerry Collins in 1972, who was the first ever Irish paddler and we have been represented at every single Olympic Games for 40 years, which is an unparallelled record,” Mr Egan told those present.

Rheinisch follows in the footsteps of Salmon Leap’s Ian Pringle, who also represented Ireland at three games in Montreal in ‘76, 1980 in Moscow and in 1984 in Los Angeles.

Injury and illness almost saw Rheinisch hang up his paddle in 2010 and 2011 but, following surgery on his shoulder, his battled back and booked his spot in London at the World Championships in Augsburg in Germany last May.

The last Games were bitter sweet for the now 32-year-old athlete. He was agonisingly pushed out of a medal spot by Togo’s Benjamin Boukpeti, just a single second separated Rheinisch and a bronze medal.

- Ruth Chambers