Home News World Championship Star Olive is Sportswoman of the Month

World Championship Star Olive is Sportswoman of the Month


Olympian Olive Loughnane scoops coveted award Dublin, Wed., 9th Sept 2009: World Championship star, Olive Loughnane has scooped The Irish Times/Irish Sports Council ‘Sportswoman of the Month Award’ for August today for her superb performance in the twenty-kilometre walk at the Berlin event last month

The thirty-three year old Loughrea native, took silver, finishing just 49 seconds behind defending champion and Olympic gold medalist Olga Kaniskina of Russia in 1:28.58. In soaring temperatures, Olive held off the challenge of China’s Hong Liu with 12 seconds to spare to take her first major championship medal, walking a season’s best. She is only the fourth Irish athlete ever to have won a World Championship medal, joining Eamonn Coghlan (gold in 1983), Sonia O’Sullivan (silver in 1993 and gold in 1995) and Gillian O’Sullivan (silver in 2003), also in the 20km walk.

It is exactly a year since Olive won a 2008 Sportswoman of the Month Award for Ireland’s best result in track and field at the Beijing Olympic Games, when she finished seventh in the 20km walk. Encouraged by that performance, in which she knocked 93 seconds off her personal best and finished just one minute and 14 seconds behind the gold-medal winner, Olive was convinced she hadn’t past her best yet and announced her plan to compete in the London 2012 Olympics. Her recent performance in Berlin suggests she is one of Ireland’s top hopes of bringing home an Olympic medal.

“It is a honour to receive this Sportswoman of the Month Award and to be in the company of other monthly winners like Katie Taylor, Derval O’Rourke and Mary Cullen, said Olive of her award win. “It was only when I came home that it struck me what I achieved in Berlin. The crowds that turned out on Loughrea and Coachford were amazing. The World Championships was a significant step for me and has given me the confidence I need for the next three years, in looking forward to London 2012”.

Being in Berlin was a testament to Olive’s strength of character having suffered a chronic iron deficiency following the birth of her daughter Eimear three years ago. Olive, alongside previous monthly nominees, will battle it out for the title of Sportswoman of the Year at an awards ceremony in Dublin in January 2010.

Established in 2004, the Sportswoman of the Month award recognises the abilities and achievements of women in Irish sports, with the judges selecting a winner each month for her ability to excel at sport. The monthly and annual winners are decided by a judging panel, which is represented by individuals from The Irish Times, RTÉ, and the Evening Herald.

Further details on the Sportswoman of the Year Awards can be found on www.irishtimes.com/events/sportswoman/.

Image by Damien Eagers/Sportsfile