The media frenzy surrounding Derval O'Rourke's fitness for the upcoming games was laid to rest on Tuesday night as she recorded her best time of the year at a track meet in Lignano, Italy. Derval finished in second with a time of 13.02 seconds behind American Lolo Jones in the 100m event and the high profile star will certainly be her biggest threat to a medal in just over a weeks time.
Jones is certainly a superstar, winning champion indoor titles in 2008 and 2010 alongside her USA teammate, Yvette Lewis. The pair are certainly ranked among the best in the world and Derval will be have to be at her very best to get in among them.
Meanwhile in Switzerland, Paul Hession also recorded a second place finish in the mens 200m while Deirdre Ryan cleared 1.86m in the high-jump as team Ireland look in decent shape heading to London.
Another athlete hoping to collect a medal for team Ireland is 200m canoe sprinter Andrej Jezierski. The double world champion(originally from Poland) is a high class canoer with a world class record spanning two silver and two bronze finishes in the 1000m and 500m events.
Jezierski’s story is a fascinating one. In 2005, after securing gold on the world championship stage, he retired from the canoe because of the lack of financial gain and the miniscule grant he was receiving for competing for Poland. He left Poland and like many other of his countrymen found a home in Ballincollig, Co. Cork, Ireland. Interestingly, he left the canoe in favor of driving a truck before making a epic comeback on behalf of his adopted country.
The history behind this athlete is fascinating and many regard his tough mentality and spirit as something that could propel him to succeed in this years games. Andrej, Team Ireland is certainly glad to have you.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore