One of Ireland’s finest ever athletes, race-walker Gillian O’Sullivan, has today announced her retirement from competitive athletics at the age of 30.
The Kerry native, who has struggled with injuries and illness in recent years, has had a hugely impressive career. She is currently the world record holder in the 5000m, a record she set in Santry in 2002 at the Irish National Championships. She is also the current Irish record holder in the 3,000m, 5,000m and 10,000m and holds the 10k and 20k Irish road records.
O’Sullivan’s best performance came in 2003 when she took 2nd in the 20km Walk at the World Championships in Paris. She also had a 4th place finish at the 2002 European Championships and came 10th at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 in the same event.
“To retire from competing was always going to be a huge decision for me but I have put a lot of thought into it and I feel now is the best time to move on. Athletics has been so good to me but it has got to the stage where with some of the problems I’ve had I didn’t feel I could get back to the heights I hit in 2002 and 2003 and to leave now I can be happy with everything I have achieved and not have any regrets. I want to thank Athletics Ireland, the Irish Sports Council and the Olympic Council for all their help and support throughout my career”, O’Sullivan said today.
“For the future I have no immediate plans but I would certainly love to be involved in athletics at some level down the line and maybe I will look at getting involved in coaching”, she added.
Liam Hennessy, Chair of the Athletics Ireland High Performance Committee, was full of praise for her outstanding career. “Gillian is a huge loss to us but her place in the history of Irish athletics is assured. From her excellent performance in Sydney to her moment of true greatness in Paris she has been one of Ireland’s best. These are my abiding memories of Gillian along with that of a supremely talented athlete with a burning determination to succeed. On behalf of Athletics Ireland and myself I want to wish her all the best for the future”, Hennessy said today.