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Smalltalk with para athlete Jordan Lee

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Killarney native Jordan Lee was born with one hand but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his sporting dreams. In 2018, the high jumper won a bronze medal for Ireland in the Para Athletics European Championships in Berlin.

Adam Moynihan sat down with the talented para athlete this week to discuss his goals for 2019, his Paralympic prospects and some of his favourite things.

 

Hi Jordan. How is training going?

It’s going well. I’m training five to six times a week so it’s a fairly hefty load, but I have a great team at my side in my coach Tomás Grifin and assistant coach PJ Galvin. We like to call ourselves The Jumper’s Tribe, the #menonamission team, and we’re going really hard at the moment. We’re looking forward to the outdoor season, which is coming in the next month or two.

 

You recently secured direct funding from Sport Ireland. How important is that for your career?

Yeah I’m delighted. That’s going to help me in many different ways. For example, when I have competitions up and down the country, the funding will help pay for travel expenses. I train at the track twice a week so it will help pay for that too, as well as any gear or high jump equipment that I need. If we choose to go on our own training camp, we can also use the funding towards that.

Becoming a funded athlete is great and it’s definitely going to further my development as a high jumper.

 

What are your goals for the rest of the year?

The main goal is to hopefully get selected and qualify for the World Championships in Dubai in November. That’s my main focus. In terms of my jumps, I just need to keep performing the way I’m performing, keep trying to raise the bar each time, impress the coaches, and then hopefully get selected for the Worlds.

 

How would you rate your chances of being selected for the 2020 Paralympics?

It’s still very early days yet. The Paralympics aren’t on for another year and a half so you can’t really say. I would like to think that I have a decent chance but you can never be certain, you can never take anything for granted. The best thing to do is just continue raising the bar every time I go out training and competing.

 

Do you ever feel discriminated against because of your disability?

I don’t. Not anymore. When I was younger and I played basketball, I did. I used to get discriminated against quite a lot.

 

Nowadays I don’t to be honest. A lot of people know who I am and they respect what I’m doing, which is a great feeling. And it’s only right because I believe it doesn’t matter if you’ve got one hand or if you have one leg, or if you’re any bit different to anyone else. We all deserve to be treated the same.

 

Who has been the biggest influence on your career so far?

That’s a tough question. I’ve only been doing the high jump for a year and a half, so it’s actually still kind of new and I’m still learning things every day. I would say my coach Tomás has had the biggest influence on me. Without him and PJ, I wouldn’t be the jumper that I am today to be honest with you.

 

What’s your proudest sporting moment?

Obviously winning a bronze in the European Championships was a great moment for me and for my family, and also for my coaches and the team. But I actually didn’t jump particularly well. I only jumped 1.75m, which at the time was 9cm off my personal best. So to be honest with you I was a little bit down about that, even though I was after winning a medal.

I would say that my proudest moment to date was winning a bronze medal at the National Junior Championships (under 20) in January. I jumped a new PB of 1.90m in an able-bodied competition. To put that into context, that’s the equivalent of jumping 8cm over my own head. I’m currently ranked 7th in Ireland in the high jump in able-bodied competition, and I’m also ranked number 1 in the world in the para rankings.

So I’m really happy with how my season has started out.

 

What’s your most embarrassing sporting moment?

When I was 16 I had my first international competition with the Paralympic team in Berlin. I finished fourth out of four people, so it wasn’t great. I jumped 1.55m, which was really, really bad.

 

If you had to compare yourself to another athlete, who would it be?

I actually wouldn’t compare myself to any other athlete. You see people when they’re younger and they want to be like Ronaldo or they want to be like Gooch, but I don’t try to be like anyone else. I try to be my own person.

There aren’t really a lot of athletes out there like me, which I think is a good thing. I want to try and inspire other people, and you can’t do that by pretending to be somebody else.

 

Do you have any superstitions?

I don’t really. The night before a big competition I always say a prayer to myself and pray that everything’s going to go well but other than that, I don’t have any superstitions.

 

Is there an app on your phone that you couldn’t live without?

There is. I love Instagram. I wouldn’t be able to delete the app off my phone if I’m being honest with you.

 

What’s your most used emoji?

It would probably be the prayer sign. I can’t do it properly for you right now! But it’s a nice mark of respect.

 

What sort of music do you listen to?

I listen to all sorts of music but my main genre would definitely be rap. Whenever I’m trying to pump myself up before a competition, I listen to rap music.

 

What would you sing at karaoke?

Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. It’s a cracker of a tune to be fair.

 

What’s the last show you binge watched?

The Punisher on Netflix. Great show.

 

And last one… What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Never give up. It’s fairly straightforward and straight to the point but I’m a firm believer that you 100% need to believe in yourself and in your abilities to achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve. To do that, there’s only one thing you need to do and that’s keep going. Don’t be listening to what other people say. You do whatever it is you want to do.

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Relegation battle has town divided

By Sean Moriarty This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town. After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle […]

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By Sean Moriarty

This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town.

After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle that is sure to divide the town.

In sporting terms, the outcome of the big game, set for December 5, is simple enough. The winner stays in the Senior Championship next season and the losers will have to play in the Intermediate Championship.

Fans of the black and amber or the green and white face an anxious week. Winning the county title is one thing – consigning your cross town rivals to second division football in football is altogether a bigger prize.

Senior officials from both clubs are being very guarded on a potential outcome as both sides know the significance of this play off.

“It is a pity that two Killarney clubs, with a long tradition of playing football in the top tier, find themselves in the position of having to play off to avoid relegation,” Matt O’Neill, Cathaoirleach of Dr Crokes, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Both teams will fight tooth and nail to stay in the senior ranks. I am confident that on Sunday week our lads will do themselves and the club proud, as always, and give their all in the quest to keep the black and amber to the fore.”

Crokes are based off the Lewis Road with Legion a short distance away on the other side of the bypass.

“Everyone has an opinion on this,” Legion PRO, Elaine O’Donoghue, told the Killarney Advertiser. “Both sides will be nervous – may the best team win. There are a lot of questions, are the Crokes suffering after defeat to Kerins O’Rahillys [in the semi-final]? Are our lads suffering after losing to St Brendan’s for the third year in a row?”

Every football fan will be keeping a close eye on next weekend’s Intermediate County Final too which takes place on December 4.

The winners of the match between Beaufort and Tralee side Na Gael will be automatically promoted to replace the losers of the Killarney play-off in the Senior Championship next season.

Should Beaufort prevail, a (relatively) local team could replace a town team in the top flight.

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Handball off the wall in Killarney

By Con Dennehy The popularity of handball as one of the fastest growing sports in Kerry is set to continue in the East Kerry region with the continued development of Spa/Killarney Handball Club. On Monday night the progressive club hosts a Beginners and Advanced League at their magnificent indoor facility located at the Spa GAA grounds […]

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By Con Dennehy

The popularity of handball as one of the fastest growing sports in Kerry is set to continue in the East Kerry region with the continued development of Spa/Killarney Handball Club.

On Monday night the progressive club hosts a Beginners and Advanced League at their magnificent indoor facility located at the Spa GAA grounds in Killarney. The club boasts two state-of-the-art indoor handball walls which were designed and built by local player and sportsman Mike Casey. It was opened in May 2018.

“On Monday night the games will tip off at 7pm with 11 players in the Advanced League and seven in the Beginners League. The format of the competition will see quarter finals in the first round progressing to overall winners on the night. It promises to be a great night of exciting handball and we welcome spectators,” said Eoin O’Donoghue, secretary of the club.

Competitors taking part in the Beginners League are Sheila Kelliher, Elena O’Donoghue, Niamh Faulds, Rosin King, Brid Horgan, Neill Horgan and Sinead Moriarty.

Players signed up for the Advanced League include Aoife Walsh, John Daniel Cronin, Eoin O’Donoghue, Kieran O’Brien, Brendan O’Donoghue, Michael Clifford, Evan Enright, Eoghan Daly, Brian McEvoy, Jerry Cronin and Maggie Quirke.

One player set to receive a warm welcome will be Brendan O’Donoghue. At the 2019 All-Ireland Hardball championships in Mayo, Brendan became the first Spa/Killarney man to win an All-Ireland Handball medal. He achieved this unique and much publicised honour in the highly ranked Master’s 55 B final.

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