Airport supports Irish Olympic high jumper

By Rob Virtue on March 20, 2012 1:00 PM |

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Juggling a gruelling training schedule while working part-time as a management consultant would be far from ideal preparation for the upcoming Olympics.

But it's a scenario 29-year-old Deirdre Ryan was facing until London City Airport stepped in with a sponsorship package.

For an athlete whose performance in the World Championships last September - where she set the Irish national record while qualifying for this summer's Games - saw her widely acclaimed in her homeland, that would have been travesty.

While details of the City Airport deal have not been released Deirdre, Ireland's top female high jumper, said it was "considerable enough" that along with 20,000 euro funding from the Irish Sports Council, she would be able to focus her attention totally on London 2012.

"It funds my training and travelling which is really quite expensive. It's a great opportunity and I'm really grateful," said Deirdre.

"Being able to train full-time is imperative as it allows me to recover better and concentrate fully during training sessions."

For Deirdre, who worked in financial services in Dublin before heading to Leverkusen in Germany for training where she joined a management consultancy, the sponsorship deal marked the end of a rollercoaster year.

It saw her tear ligaments in both ankles in separate incidents, missing around four months before returning stronger to set the Irish record in the championships in Korea.

Now her focus is on day-to-day training with the Games lingering on the horizon. Thinking ahead she said she would love to make the final of the high jump.

"It's hard to set a position target as you don't know who will be in what shape at that time," she said. "I just want to get a personal best. My aim is to get to the final and once you are there anything can happen.

"Those back home are so excited and there's lots of friends and family coming over for the Games.

"My parents said to me they will definitely have to fly to London City now."