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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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Training day for junior rowers

By Michelle Crean Junior members of Muckross Rowing Club were delighted to take part in a training day recently to fine tune their skills for upcoming events. Beginner to Junior 18 members competed in 19 races. The 500m sprints were held in octuples, quads and doubles. “Taking part in this sprint regatta will help Junior […]

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By Michelle Crean

Junior members of Muckross Rowing Club were delighted to take part in a training day recently to fine tune their skills for upcoming events.

Beginner to Junior 18 members competed in 19 races. The 500m sprints were held in octuples, quads and doubles.

“Taking part in this sprint regatta will help Junior Members prepare for upcoming regattas which are hoped to take place this summer,” Shóna O’Sullivan said.

“Those racing were cheered on by their fellow team mates at the Garden Quays. The races were exciting to watch, especially the races that ended in a photo finish.”

The competitors refuelled with a barbecue cooked by Bernie and Seamus O’Sullivan, she added.

“Thanks to Bernie, Seamus, all coaches and committee members that helped this training session run successfully in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.”

On the same day Seán Daly Chairperson of Muckross Rowing Club presented Jane and Lila Ryan with Honorary Associated Membership for their generous contribution of €500 to the club.

“Our rowing club are extremely grateful for their generosity.”

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Hike up Strickeen Mountain for air ambulance

  Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance. The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab. It […]

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Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance.

The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab.

It is expected that the 7.5km hike will take around three hours to complete and participants will benefit from the expertise of Krzysztof for a minimum donation €10 per person or €20 per family.

Strickeen Mountain is the eastern most peak of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and the hike will start from the Gap of Dunloe at 11am on the day.

As an added bonus fruit and water, donated by local supermarkets including Lidl, Aldi and Daly’s SuperValu, will be provided. The first 20 to register will receive a limited edition Irish Community Air Ambulance face covering snood.

“This is an ideal opportunity for someone who has never climbed this mountain, but wants to do it with the help of an experienced guide,” Donie Lucey, who is one of the Irish Community Air Ambulance’s chief fundraisers, said.

Further details are available from Donie on 086 854 5873 or from Krzysztof on 087 7589697 after 6pm.

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Golf club launches Summer Series competition

By Sean Moriarty Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality. The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer. Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality.

The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer.

Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at the famed Killeen course this coming Wednesday (June 23). This series will continue every Wednesday for eight weeks and top five scorers on each date will qualify for a Grand Final which is scheduled for Sunday, August 22.

“We are delighted to launch the ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series. This is a singles stableford event taking place on the Irish Open course, Killeen,” said the club’s marketing manager Meg Dalton. “With over €8,000 worth of prizes to be won, this is an event not to be missed. The first opportunity to qualify for the grand final is Wednesday.”

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