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The naming of teams and competitors for the Olympic Games are coming thick and fast now with the Irish Hockey team named yesterday in an event run by team sponsor Electric Ireland.
The team will open their campaign in Rio on Saturday August 6th against India and are the first full team to represent Ireland at the Olympics since 1948.
Funding the campaign has been an issue but it was revealed yesterday that over €200,000 has now been brought in through a mix of crowd funding, a €50,000 contribution from the Olympic Council of Ireland and fundraisers where the sport has called in support from other sports including Rugby and GAA to put on high profile events.
The campaign to qualify included finishing third at the European Championships and first ever wins over Pakistan and Malaysia. Having started 2015 in 15th place on the world ranking list it required real effort and determination to make it among the twelve teams that will line out in Brazil.
“To be the first field team sport to represent Ireland at an Olympics in 68 years is a historic achievement,” said Acting CEO of Hockey Ireland Rob Johnson.
“And to be a selected team member in this history-making side is an incredible personal achievement – congratulations to each and every one of the players selected!
“Head Coach, Craig Fulton with his support team, has stretched the squad, raising them to higher performance levels. This has required a huge amount of dedication and many sacrifices from every member of the larger squad.”
“I would like to thank everyone in the larger squad of players for the dedication and extreme focus of every single one of them during the qualification campaign. I know that Craig’s final decision on selection was extremely difficult.”
The formal selection for Golf was also confirmed yesterday with Jordan Spieth withdrawing at the last minute to make it four from four of the world’s top players pulling out due to concerns over the Zika virus. All the world’s top women golfers, including Ireland’s leona Maguire will be there for Golf’s reinstatement to the games.
“There’s no doubt that the number of withdrawals hasn’t shed golf in the best light, and we have to accept that,” said President of the international Golf Federation Peter Dawson speaking at the Open Championship which gets underway this week.