Multi-million training centre opens as Ireland chases medals at the Rio Olympics
A new 4 million high performance training centre was opened in Dublin last week as Team Ireland begin their final preparations for this summer’s Olympic Games in Brazil.
The facility will host 180 of the country’s elite athletes as they train ahead of the European and World Championships and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Looking to build upon their haul at London 2012, where their five medals (consisting of one gold, one silver and three bronze) left them 41st on the list, one of Ireland’s highest ranking sports officials say the centre will ‘remove excuses’.
Impact Gary Keegan, the Director of the Irish Institute of Sport, opened the centre alongside Ireland’s Sports Minister Paschal Donohoe and Kieran Mulvey, Chair of Sport Ireland.
Mr Keegan said: “We started from a very humble space with boxing. We had seven bags hanging in that national gym and there was one ring in the centre of the floor and it was pretty cold and pretty depressing. “We were going out to worldclass environments in Russia and Germany and seeing what it looked like.
“I could see the impact on the mindset of our boxers coming back into their ordinary space and going into a world-class space.
“That’s why I think having the facility in some way impacts the belief, the psychology. It starts to remove the excuses. It makes the athletes stand with their chest a little bit further back. “This is as much about a physical environment as it is about feeding a mindset in our athletes and coaches that there are no excuses.”
The facility, at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Co Dublin, features a championship indoor racetrack and a high performance boxing set-up.
It will accommodate 20 sports and 47 high performance coaches, with many of Ireland’s sporting bodies already using the facilities, and the boxing team among others set to follow suit soon. The new 4million facility includes a strength and conditioning area, mixed training zones, and zones for rehabilitation, nutrition, physiology, medicine and analysis.
Chief executive of Sport Ireland John Treacy said: “I am delighted to see the new High Performance Training Centre come on stream as we look towards Rio and beyond. “As part of the investment, we consulted intensively with athletes, coaches, performance directors and specialists across the team to consider design, layout and equipment based on our sports current needs and also to ensure future proofing this support environment.”
The centre also boasts an athletes’ kitchen with nutrition demonstration and education area and social ecology space where athletes and coaches can rest from training, catch up on study and meet peers. The centre also features a new changing village with recovery suite, integrating existing areas of the Institute that deliver high performance physiology and lifeskills support services.