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Lee striving for recognition as great athlete “full stop”

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An impressive jump of 1.90m was enough to secure a silver medal for Jordan Lee at the National U23 Athletics Championships, which were held at the Morton Stadium in Santry last weekend.

Lee was competing against able bodied athletes at the prestigious event and once again he showed that he can mix it with anyone in the country.

His best attempt on the day was second only to that of Ciarán Connolly at the U23 grade, and it was also good enough for an eighth place finish in the senior event, which was won by David Cussen.

The talented Killarney man is now ranked second in the WPA World Rankings.

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser, the Killarney Valley AC athlete said he was happy with his performance on the day.

“My goal heading into the event was to jump 1.90m, which I ultimately did,” he said.

“That’s something I was really pleased about. Over the past couple of months I’ve been working really diligently on the technical aspects of my approach and when you’re working on anything technical, especially in athletics and the high jump, it takes a while. It’s a process - it isn’t going to happen just like that.

“It’s frustrating at times but it all came together last weekend. I have lots of positives to take out of it. I feel like I’m in PB shape but I’m still working on a couple of technical things. Once I get them right, I feel like I can jump a PB in the near future.”

Lee, who won bronze at the World Para Athletics European Championships in 2018, is keen to prove himself in competitions like the National Championships as he strives to earn recognition as a top athlete, as opposed to “just” a top para athlete.

“It means an awful lot to me to win medals in able bodied competition. It’s definitely something that I’m constantly trying to get across to people.

"I don’t want to be recognised as just a great athlete for my disability. I want to be recognised as a great athlete overall. Full stop.

"I’m trying to follow in the footsteps of people like Jason Smyth, who is visually impaired and is the second fastest man in Irish history.

“It’s great that I’m finally starting to get that recognition that I’m a good overall athlete, as opposed to just being restricted to competing in para competition.”

RIGHT TIME

Just like every other athlete in the country, Jordan is delighted to be back competing again after the lockdown and he says the reopening of his training facilities came at just the right time for him.

“The opening of the track has been a huge help. Actually being able to get proper contact on a track surface and to get that feeling of jumping over a bar has been a massive benefit. The plyos and all the training that I’ve done during lockdown have definitely helped me in the long run, but it was getting to the stage where I needed the feeling of jumping over a bar again.”

Looking ahead to the coming months and his ongoing preparations for next year’s European Championships and, of course, the Paralympics, Lee says much will depend on COVID-19.

“Myself and my coach Tomás (Griffin) are going to sit down in the coming days to see what the plan of attack will be. We’re aware that the Northern Irish Championships are on in mid-September and that is something that we might target, but we’ll have to suss out the logistics of that. We have to see if athletes from the Republic will be allowed to compete due to COVID regulations etc.

“Sunday could potentially have been my last competition of the year, which is a shame because I’ve only competed twice since the World Championships last November. It takes a couple of competitions to get into that good form. I definitely feel like I’m in PB shape. I just need to utilise my speed a bit more coming in towards the bar. Once I unlock that, I think I’ll jump a new personal best - hopefully two metres.”

This time 12 months from now the Paralympic Games will be held in Tokyo and though it’s still a long way away, Lee admits that the prospect of representing his country on the biggest stage is lingering at the back of his mind.

“An athlete’s ultimate ambition is to become an Olympian and that is a huge possibility over the next couple of months.

"I have an extra year to improve and develop. It’s exciting to say the least.

“I just need to keep the head down – I have the Europeans beforehand and I’d be hoping for gold there – but it does give me goosebumps every time I hear the Paralympics being mentioned.”

GRIFFIN

Meanwhile, Lee’s 16-year-old teammate Sam Griffin, son of coach Tomás, is the youngest athlete to make the national rankings following his sixth place finish in the National U23 Championships.

The long jumper came 15th in the senior competition with a jump of 5.62m.

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Relief as indoor dining finally resumes

By Michelle Crean After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in. Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday. According to the new […]

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By Michelle Crean

After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in.

Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday.

According to the new rules as set out by Fáilte Ireland and the Government, in order for customers to access indoor service, they must show proof that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. Those who are not yet vaccinated can only be served outside.

A maximum of six people aged 13 and over are allowed per table and it’s advised that face coverings be worn when not at the table, there is no time limit, customers can only eat or drink at a table and not at the bar or counter, and one person must give their details for contract tracing purposes. Live music and dancing is not allowed.

The Killarney Advertiser spoke to a number of businesses this week and overall the feeling was relief that they can finally get back to normal service but the issue of staffing still remains.

Brian Murphy from Courtney’s Bar said he was feeling nervous.

“I’m feeling nervous as we don’t have enough staff,” he said. “It’s a Monday so hopefully we can cope. Things will settle down and we’ll find a level we are all happy with.”

At the Porterhouse Restaurant Lee O’Callaghan said “It’s great to be back open and have people coming into the restaurant”.

“Hopefully we have a long season after being closed for so long.”

Staff at Reidy’s, Ellen Shannon, Rory Carroll and Jack Sweeney, added that they’re delighted to return to indoor dining.

“Hopefully we get back to normal soon and to brighter days ahead.”

At Jimmy Brien’s Bar in Fair Hill, customers echoed the same sentiments about being finally open.

“We are delighted to be back,” Danjoe Aherne said.

“We appreciate everything Alan Breen has done for us. We’re glad to be back home again!” Charlie Buckingham said.

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Time to get your skates on!

By Sean Moriarty People of Killarney are being urged to have their say on a new skateboard park before next week’s deadline. A public consultation on the project has been launched by Kerry County Council. Cllr Donal Grady, who first put forward the idea of a Killarney skateboard park in 2018, is urging the people […]

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By Sean Moriarty

People of Killarney are being urged to have their say on a new skateboard park before next week’s deadline.

A public consultation on the project has been launched by Kerry County Council.

Cllr Donal Grady, who first put forward the idea of a Killarney skateboard park in 2018, is urging the people of the town to have their say.

It is proposed to build the park on land adjacent to the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre with help and support from the KDYS.

“In 2017 a group of skateboard enthusiasts approached me, they had no designated safe area to enjoy their sport. Sport is vital for youths, stakeboarding increases metabolism, improves balance and enhances coordination use,” Cllr Grady told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Skateboarding is now an Olympic sport. I commend Kerry County Council, management, engineers and the planning team for getting the project to this stage, it’s now up to the people of Killarney to have their say. It’s vital positive submissions are lodged by Wednesday, August 25,”

Submissions can be lodged to the Playground Unit, Finance Dept, Kerry County Council.

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