Achieving a 90 per cent satisfaction rating from customers is a pretty high bar but that is what athletes said of the Sport Ireland Institute throughout 2018.

The number was one of those revealed as part of a sentiment survey carried out by the Institute and included in its first published Annual Review.

The Institute is one of the central elements of the National Sports camus which has developed over the years at Abbottstown and now stands as a world class testament to what can be achieved through good planning, Government investment and collaboration.

The output from all of that will be higher performance standards on a European and world stage and that is likely to be seen to ever greater effect over the next 15 mnths running into the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“2018 was a pivotal year in the evolution of the Sport Ireland Institute with the completion of the strategy with six key priorities through to 2024 providing a clear focus for the development of our support offering to Ireland’s high performance sports, the athletes and their support personnel,” said Institute Director Liam Harbison yesterday.

“The strong athlete response to the annual sentiment survey attests to the impact the support services provided by the Sport Ireland Institute Team has on their major championship performance is the reason we exist and a fitting testimonial to the team of highly professional and experienced service practitioners we have.”

“We are committed to further supporting the athletes, particularly those targeting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and reflecting the new alignment in Irish High Performance Sport, are in detailed planning with both the Olympic Federation of Ireland and Paralympics Ireland to support the Tokyo mission.”

That support will lead to as many as 15 support staff being with Team Ireland for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and up to five with the Paralympics team.

They will be the staff that have been working with athletes throughout their build up and will provide a continuity of back up that could be the difference in the finest of margins that define the winning performances at that level.

The report gives a detailed breakdown of the work that is undertaken at the Institute, from Lifeskills and Advisory services through to strength and conditioning.

Nutrition plays a big part as well and one of the most popular initiatives among athletes last year was the introduction of an Athletes breakfast each Wednesday and friday where they could come together and share learnings across the many different spoorts that now avail of the Institute.

The partnership with the Olympic Federation of Ireland has led to greater system alignment with the Sport Ireland Institute having provided support to Team Ireland at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires and the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

This agreement was complimented by the signing of key agreements with the National Dairy Council and analytics company SAS.  Further announcements about commercial partnerships will be announced in the coming weeks and carried right here on Sport for Business.

“2018 was a significant year for the Sport Ireland Institute in its support of our top athletes,” said Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy.

“This was underpinned by the ground-breaking partnership with the Olympic Federation of Ireland which introduces a new aligned approach in the Irish High-Performance System toward Olympic Games preparation and performance.”

“It is welcome to see such positive feedback from the athete sentiment survey on their experience of the Institute and its staff both at home and abroad at training camps and competitions.

Other key developments in 2018 include the launch for Sport Ireland Institute’s Athlete Friendly Employer Network, the hosting of a Dual Careers Event with Student Sport Ireland and the commencement of the Sparking Performance development programme for Performance Directors.

All in all it has been a good year in the crucial timeframe of preparation for an Olympic cycle.  It’s good as well that the Institute is out telling its story, if not quite the granular elements that will give Irish athetes that crucial edge when they need it most.

You can read the full Annual Report by clicking on the image below.


Images of Orla Walsh and Kellie Harrington by David Fitzgerald of