Dundalk athlete Cathal Kearney
Cathal Kearney from Dundalk has been selected to be part of the Swimming squad at the 2017 School Games National Finals.
The School Games are an integrated multi-sport event for the UK’s most talented school-age athletes and will take place atLoughborough University from 31st August to 3rd September 2017.
15-year-old Cathal, who is a student at the Patrician High School and is a member of the Aer Lingus Swimming Club, will compete for the Ireland squad in the Swimming. He already has an impressive record of success after winning two gold medals at the British Swimming Championship in 2014.
Around 1,600 athletes will compete across 12 sports at the School Games, seven of which include disability disciplines. The four-day event is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.
Cathal will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of Britain’s biggest sporting stars who have competed at the School Games before going on to senior international success.
Previous competitors include Paralympic champions Hannah Cockroft, Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock, Olympic champion Adam Peaty, heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and GB sprinter Adam Gemili.
The School Games are the springboard for future athletes: 56 of the 382 athletes representing Team GB at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio competed at the School Games.
At the event Cathal will experience the excitement of competing at the highest level. He will live in a dedicated Athletes’ Village on the Loughborough University campus, take part in an Opening Ceremony and perform in front of huge crowds of spectators.
“The Olympics has inspired me the most. I think that it is the greatest sporting event,” said Cathal.
“The School Games National Finals provide a great opportunity for talented young athletes like Cathal,” says Ali Oliver, Chief Executive Officer of the Youth Sport Trust. “Competitors get a real taste of what it’s like to be part of a world-class sporting event at the amazing sporting venues of Loughborough University, and the event is a great way to see our future sporting champions in action today.”