Tributes paid following death of race-walking coach Raymond Flynn

‘He wore every hat in the sport with great pride. His passing leaves a major void’

Tributes have been paid to the athletics race-walking coach Raymond Flynn, who died suddenly over the weekend at age of 68.

“It is with great sadness that Athletics Ireland mourns the passing of Sligo native Raymond Flynn, a member of the Athletics Ireland high performance committee as well as a dedicated coach and official who was ever present at events across the country. ‘Ray’ was passionate about race walking and started with his local Calry AC in the late 1960s, inspired by the likes of walkers such as Jackie McGowan and Tommy Casey, which would in turn lead him to become a European race-talking Judge.

"An esteemed coach, working with athletes from club, right up to international level including Robert Heffernan, Olive Loughnane, Colin Griffin, and James Costin. Our thoughts are with all of his friends and family at this difficult time."

Pierce O’Callaghan, former international race-walker and now head of competition management at World Athletics, said: “The news of the untimely passing of Sligo athletics official Ray Flynn has come as a major shock to everyone who knew him from Sligo and further afield and marks the end of an era in Sligo Athletics.


“A great family man, he lived for his wife Elizabeth and daughters Rachel, Zola, Edel and son Calvin whom he always talked about and was so proud of and to whom we express our deepest sympathies.

“Ray was an ever smiling, multifaceted man with a great sense of fun and mischief and certainly one of a kind who broke the mold and went against conventions in practically every way. Athlete, coach, official, committee member, organiser, volunteer, journalist, judge mentor, friend - he wore every hat in the sport with great pride. His passing leaves a major void in Sligo, Connacht and Irish Athletics.”

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics