Tori Pena will compete for Ireland in the pole vault competition in London in just a few short weeks. Born near Huntington Beach in California, the 24-year-old is eligible to represent Ireland through her Derry-born grandmother and got her dual citizenship in 2010 before deciding to represent the Finn Valley Athletic Club in Donegal.
It’s quite a story and one which is steeped in Irish-American honor as Pena is a national record holder in Ireland and has just finished a solid campaign in Europe in preparation for the big event in London.
She will compete in the Olympic A standard of 4.4 meters having excelled at the Beach Track and Field Classic in California in March and will be Ireland's only representative in the field events at the upcoming games.
Pena has publicly expressed her pride in representing Ireland but securing a medal will nevertheless be a tough task. She is ranked 10th in Europe on the back of the championships in Helsinki last week, but the Olympics will bring a new and daunting task among some of the best field athletes in the world.
If she can pull it off it would be an almighty feat, recognised from the beaches of Huntington, Cali, to the hills of Donegal.
Moving to Ireland
After living in Ireland for almost one year, this is what I’ve learned