Saturday, March 2, 2024

Life in the fast lane: Irish pair compete in world race

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Ireland’s Saoirse Higgins and Charlie Sweeney have competed in the ‘Fastest Kid in the World’ races at the Millrose Games in New York.

Neither of the two eight-year-olds secured a win yesterday but both remain hugely buoyed up by the experience and are looking forward to more international competitions in the future.

Saoirse and Charlie were selected as part of a talent ID programme operated by Irish coach Dermot McDermott and sponsored by ultramarathon runner Richard Donovan.

They were competing in the Youth Boy’s and Youth Girl’s U8 55m Final.

Saoirse, from Sligo, was first to run and finished sixth in the girl’s race, which was won by Bella Brown representing Jamaica.

Speaking afterwards, Saoirse said: “I am delighted with myself, chuffed with my run and can’t wait to do more races. New York is so cool.”

Saoirse and Charlie with former Olympic champion Eamonn Coghlan at the Millrose Games

Charlie, a pupil at Radharc na Mara School in Mervue, Galway, finished 7th in the boy’s event, which was won by Noah Brown from Burkina Faso. It was a very close race with just three-tenths of a second separating him from second position.

“I’m disappointed not to win”, Charlie said. “I got a flyer of a start but my time this year would have been top three any other year so I can’t be too hard on myself. I’m so thankful to Richard and Dermot for the great opportunity and can’t wait to celebrate with my friends when I get home.”

Charlie is the first member of the Traveller community to be selected to represent Ireland at the Millrose Games, known as the Indoor Olympics in the running world.

His parents, Des and Louise, and his three older brothers are very proud of their “little dynamo”.

Sebastian Coe posed for a photograph with Charlie and Saoirse

Charlie and Saoirse mingled with former Olympic champions at a black tie gala including Ireland’s Eamonn Coghlan and Britain’s Sebastian Coe.

Both eight-year-old’s are keen to share news of this trip of a lifetime with their school pals when they return home later this week.

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