‘Body image is a massive thing and can be a reason for drop-outs when you’re getting into those teenage years’ – three elite runners on the pressures experienced by female athletes

Starved of sports during Covid-19, Irish athletics gained thousands of new fans as people tuned in to see the European Indoor Championships in Poland in March. The power of this kind of exposure is not lost on Phil Healy, the Cork athlete who narrowly missed out on a medal at those championships. Healy, who is now officially Ireland’s “fastest woman”, believes that the more people who are watching, the more they will appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes to be a world-class athlete.

ater this month, for 16 days, the sporting world’s focus will turn to the Olympic Games in Tokyo and Irish eyes will be on Nadia Power, Phil Healy and Sarah Lavin, three of our top track stars. But for these Irish Olympic hopefuls, the journey to the games started decades ago.

Nadia Power’s earliest running memories is of a Senior Infant’s race when she took off like a bolt of lightning, leaving all her classmates — including all the boys — for dust.

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