Morten Espersen calls for change to facilitate Olympics

Ireland high-performance director makes plea to pospone Irish Championships until after Rio

Morten Espersen

, the Ireland high-performance director, has made a passionate plea to clubs to postpone the

Irish Championships

next year until after the Olympic Games.


After looking at the programme for 2016 he says that if the Championships were held on the date chosen (July 15th to 17th) the high-performance programme “would be forced to leave (the National Rowing Centre) for three of four days” in the run-up to the Games.

Huge boost

“We have to leave on the 29th of July for the Olympic Games, to have a week there before competing. It’s impossible to have a camp without having that weekend.”

Espersen thinks Irish international rowing would receive a huge boost if high-performance athletes come back from the World Championships and Olympics and compete.

He goes further and says that a change of calendar from 2017 onwards would not benefit the push for medals in 2020 – it has to to happen in 2016.

Having the top domestic event in September would allow the best in the country to take part, and Espersen says that senior events won without them there are cheapened.

“In hurling the championships are held in September. And boxing, I think, uses their championships for selection for international events.”

He believes that most Irish successes on the world stage until now have been “lone wolves”, but that in the current competitive international environment, athletes with international ambition must train together over long periods.

The club representatives at the meeting which discussed this issue last Sunday, before the Rowing Ireland agm, were not unanimously in favour.

There are discussions set for coming months and a change of the calendar will likely come up at the egm in March.

At the agm, the motions proposed by the board all passed.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in rowing