• Continuing momentum which saw international medals increase from 12 during the Rio cycle, to 30 during the Tokyo cycle.
  • Financial and resource investment to support achieving key milestones
  • Addressing the 3 major findings of the Tokyo review:

           - Clearer coaching structure and model

           - Athlete support outside Dublin

           - Transparency of athlete funding

Athletics Ireland today published its new High-Performance Strategy 2022-2028, a long-term plan for the Athletics Ireland high performance system over the next two Olympic cycles.

A key metric for the High-Performance programme is the number of medals won on the international stage. Athletics Ireland’s 2017-2020 High Performance Strategy identified twenty-five (25) medal opportunities over the course of the cycle, with a target of actualising 70% of those opportunities into medals won. Irish athletes achieved thirty (30) medals in targeted championship events from 2017 to 2021. This compares favourably with the twelve (12) medals won across the Rio cycle from 2012 to 2016.

On the back of those successes, a robust and comprehensive period of consultation and research underpinned the development of the 2022 - 2028 Strategy which sets out the ambition and vision for high performance athletics in Ireland.

The plan cites partnerships as critical to the success of the high-performance programme and Athletics Ireland will seek to provide an optimal platform upon which athletes and coaches can thrive, but most particularly Athletics Ireland will embrace the existing positive relationships with Sport Ireland (SI), Sport Ireland Institute (SII) and the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI).

Optimal alignment and integration are recognised as being critical in the High-Performance Strategic Plan, and as such Athletics Ireland have aligned the key strategic pillars with those of Sport Ireland’s High - Performance Strategy 2021-2032.

The key recommendations identified in the Tokyo Review include the need to devise a clearer coaching structure and model, and to establish a clearer framework for athlete support beyond the Sport Ireland Campus.

Athletics Ireland’s High Performance Strategy highlights performance coaching as a key area for investment and critical to continued and enhanced success.

Parallel to investment in indigenous coaching talent, Athletics Ireland have identified the need to integrate medal winning expertise and global credibility into our coaching eco-system, while cognisant that any investment in Performance Coaching must be accompanied by a high level of quality assurance and oversight of that investment.

The Sport Ireland Institute is an invaluable resource to performance athletes and coaches and will continue to serve as a central hub, while Athletics Ireland will extend the network or supports available so that they best serve the needs of athletes whose optimal performance environment is remote from the capital, consistent with SII’s own strategic direction going forward.

During the last cycle Athletics Ireland expanded its capacity to support and engage with the recruitment of full-time National Event Leads in Field Events, Endurance and Sprints and these roles have added significant value to the ability to roll out the strategy.

Irish athletics has seen unprecedented success at key pathway championships during the last cycle and are now seeing some outstanding talent successfully transitioning into the senior ranks, who are well placed to make a significant impact in Paris 2024 and LA 2028. The new plan cites how Athletics Ireland will continually review selection policies and procedures for championships selections and athlete carding to ensure clarity, transparency, and robustness.

Speaking at today’s launch, Athletics Ireland Director of High Performance, Paul McNamara commented: “During the Tokyo cycle we increased our medal count at targeted championships to 30, from 12 during Rio cycle. We have seen a greater number of athletes qualifying to major championships off tougher qualifying standards, and an enhanced depth in the performance level across a range of events. We look forward to building on those milestones and to future and sustained success as set out in our High-Performance Strategic document”.

Sport Ireland’s Director of High Performance, Niamh O’Sullivan commented: “Sport Ireland is delighted to support Athletics Ireland’s new High-Performance Strategy and we are confident that it can achieve the key performance targets set out in the document. Ireland can be proud of the achievements of our athletes over the last number of years and ambitious for the future. With the right people and structures, the potential for Irish athletics is exciting and we look forward to supporting Athletics Ireland on this journey”.

CEO of Athletics Ireland, Hamish Adams commented: “Our High-Performance programme has made substantial progress as evidenced by the increase in international medals attained over the last Olympic cycle.

Our new High Performance Strategic Plan addresses the 3 major findings of the Tokyo review and will support us in realising the mission of this strategy which is to have our High-Performance Programme delivering medals consistently at global and European Championships”.

Click HERE for High-Performance Strategic Plan 2022 - 2028

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