Seven Strong to Compete in Sapporo for Team Ireland


Athletics Marathon and 50k Race Walk Team Announcement for Tokyo 2020

Team Ireland has officially selected seven athletes to compete across the Marathon and 50k Race Walk events in Sapporo at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. An experienced team of five marathon runners and two race walkers will compete across four days in Sapporo from the 5 – 8 August.

In the Marathon, Fionnuala McCormack is heading into her fourth Olympic Games, she first became an Olympian in Beijing 2008. She is joined by Aoife Cooke in the Women’s Marathon, and Paul Pollock, Kevin Seaward and Stephen Scullion will compete in the Men’s Marathon. Brendan Boyce is approaching his third Games, and was the first Irish athlete across all sports to achieve an Olympic qualification time, he will compete in the Men’s 50km Race Walk alongside Alex Wright.

These events were originally scheduled to take place in Tokyo but were moved to the more northern city of Sapporo where the temperatures were considered more suited to endurance events. Sapporo additionally holds a special place in Olympic history, having hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972. Olympic Federation of Ireland Sports Director Martin Burke will be heading up the Irish delegation in Sapporo.

This is the first of two Team Ireland Tokyo announcements for athletics, with the second one scheduled for early July, and which will name the track and field athletes who will be selected, as well as athletes in the 20km Race Walk. Team Ireland has currently 10 officially selected athletes, and at the moment 79 athletes have achieved qualification spots, with many more waiting on final ranking confirmation.

Speaking about his selection Marathon runner Paul Pollock said,

“It is a real honour to compete in the Tokyo Olympics for Team Ireland. Having already competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, I am looking forward to pulling on the Irish vest once more. I'm excited about being based in the city of Sapporo, which is that extra bit special for having already hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, and I'm looking forward to the welcome that we will get. It will be a very different experience of course, without any spectators, but we are there to perform to our best and I am extremely proud to be part of the team.”

Olympic Federation of Ireland Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Tricia Heberle said,

“We are delighted to officially announce a strong and experienced Athletics Marathon and Race Walk team. Between the team they have eight Olympic Games experiences already, with Fionnuala McCormack heading into her fourth Games. This is an exciting team, with an immense amount of talent and resilience, and we are looking forward to seeing them compete this summer.”

Paul McNamara, Athletics Ireland Performance Director said, 

“This has been a unique, protracted and challenging qualifying campaign for these athletes with postponement, change of venue, limited qualifying opportunities, and the vagaries of the new qualification system, but these athletes have risen to the many challenges and now are primed to put in their very best performance on the greatest of stages”.

Team announcements will come more frequently over the coming weeks, with the final team announcement scheduled for the beginning of July. The Olympic Games in Tokyo will run from the 23rd July to 8th August 2021.


Athletics Marathon Men:

  • Paul Pollock (Rio Olympian)
  • Stephen Scullion
  • Kevin Seaward (Rio Olympian)

Athletics Marathon Women:

  • Aoife Cooke
  • Fionnuala McCormack (Beijing, London, Rio Olympian)

Athletics Men’s 50km Race Walk:

  • Brendan Boyce (London, Rio Olympian)
  • Alex Wright (Rio Olympian)

*20km Race Walk athlete(s) are selected with Track & Field athletes after Jun 27th.

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