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European Athletics Officials In Dublin


For 2009 European Cross Country Coordination Meeting A number of senior officials from European Athletics were in Dublin recently for the first coordination meeting for the 16th SPAR European Cross Country Championships which will take place in Santry Demesne, Dublin on the 13th of December 2009.
Led by Event Director, Liam Hennessy, the LOC were presented with the expectations and requirements of the different departments in European Athletics for what will be one of the biggest athletics events ever held in Ireland.

Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of John Treacy’s second victory at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Limerick in 1979, Hennessy, who incidentally, was the Communications Director on the LOC in Limerick, said he was delighted to be bringing the event to Dublin for the first time and confident of Irish medal success at the event.

“The reason’s we are hosting the European Cross Country are both numerous and far reaching” said Hennessy.

“In truth, we have a number of aims as follows:

– To commemorate the success of John Treacy in winning the World Cross Country Championships on Irish soil 30 years ago and remind the Irish public that Ireland has a great tradition in Cross Country running and are capable of matching any other country in Europe.

– That Irish athletes and supporters who are involved across the weekend find their experience of the big occasion to be a positive and enjoyable one and want more of it and get hooked on athletics!

– That Irish officials, volunteers and staff know that they can handle the biggest of live televised sporting occasions with confidence and get an appetite for hosting more major athletics events in Dublin in the future.

– To show that Ireland is a safe pair of hands for European Athletics Championships and capable of delivering a ‘best ever’ major championship and thereby boost future sporting bids from Ireland

– That in conjunction with the RDO’s, to introduce a number of youth elements to the Championships, to create a lively and exciting day of sport, capable of matching any other form of entertainment

– To leave a lasting legacy of getting more people active through running and jogging by hosting a number or mass participation events over the weekend.

– And finally that Dublin hosts the best ever European Cross Country Championships and makes the day one to remember for all Irish sport’s followers!”

The concept behind the event is one that European Athletics has been greatly impressed with and hope to make it a template for future organisers of the event.

From when the athletes arrive in Dublin airport, it is envisaged that their hotels and the course will be no longer than a maximum of 2-3km from the airport making it a very attractive proposition for thousands of Cross Country visitors from around Europe to visit the capital.

Traditionally, the event attracts athletes from over 30 European countries and over 20 million TV viewers, but Hennessy insists that because of the attractiveness of the city and the proximity of the course to the airport, he hopes that Dublin 2009 sets a new record for participation.

During the meeting, the LOC were presented with the requirements from a number of perspectives including Accommodation, Media & TV, Competition, Logistics, Finance, Relationships with the authorities, Technology and Marketing.

Importantly for the events wider perspective, Senan Turnbull from Fingal Council and Margaret Bennett of RTE gave their full backing to the event which promises to be one of the biggest days for International sport in Ireland.

Speaking on behalf on European Athletics, Communication Manager Pierce O’Callaghan, said “From our perspective we are in no doubt that Dublin has the capability, tradition and knowledge to make the 2009 edition of the Championships the best ever.”

“The course is top class and within walking distance of most of the hotels. The Irish sports fans are great supporters of events held in Ireland and the resurgence of Irish athletes in recent times will mean that they will be pushing hard for medals in most if not all of the races”

Irish athletes have a sterling record of winning medals in major championships held on home soil as witnessed by John Treacy’s victory in Limerick not to mention team silver medals for the men in 1979 and for the women at the World Cross in Leopardstown in 2002. Catherina McKiernan was also the first ever woman’s champion when the event was inaugurated in 1994.

On the overall medal table, Ireland places a very impressive 13th out of 50 European countries with a tally of 1 Gold medal, (Catherina McKiernan, 1994) 3 silver medals (Senior women’s team 2003, Junior men’s team 2004, Fionnuala Britton U23 2006,) and 3 bronze medals (Gareth Turnbull, Junior 1998, Junior men’s team 1999 & Senior men’s team 2000).

Ireland’s last medal winner was Fionnuala Britton, who won U23 silver in Italy in 2006.

A full promotion plan is currently being undertaken by the LOC and the website is envisaged to be on-line in October 2008, two months ahead of the European Athletics deadline.

Local Organising Committee for SPAR European Cross Country Championships, Dublin 2009.

Event Director: Liam Hennessy,
Administration & Finance: Mary Coghlan,
City: Senan Turnbull,
RTE : Margaret Bennett,
Marketing: Clare Mc Coy,
Press/TV: Frank Greally,
Technical: Tom Mc Cormack,
Event Presentation: Paddy Marley,
I.T. Gerry Giblin,
Security/Health & Safety: George Maybury,
Transport/Accommodation: Martin Mulcahy,
VIP’s/Ceremonies: Brendan Mc Daid,
Medical: Dr. Bill Cuddihy