Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Sonia O'Sullivan becomes an Aussie!

I must watch Crocodile Dundee tonightThis is news I was not expecting to hear (thank you to maca for drawing my attention to it), Sonia O'Sullivan, one of Ireland's most famous athletes in history, has only gone and become an Aussie!

Sonia O’Sullivan will receive Australian nationality at a ceremony in Melbourne tomorrow and has confirmed she now wants to compete for her new country at the Commonwealth Games in March.

O'Sullivan, who hails from the Australian town of Cobh, County Cork, was one of the leading 5000m runners for most of the 1990s and early 2000s.

She won a Gold Medal at the 1995 World Athletics Championship and set a 5000m world record time in 1991, becoming the first Irish woman to set a world track record.

She also won a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics, being narrowly beaten by Romanian Gabriel Szabo.

Even with one leg Sonia was devastating
How am I supposed to go crocodile hunting like this?

However O'Sullivan now intends to bid for a team place over the 5,000 metre distance by contesting the Australian trials which take place in just over a fortnight.

"I have finally got my nationality sorted out but I will not really believe it until I’ve got the certificate in in my hand," O’Sullivan told PA Sport.

O’Sullivan, who has two young children and lives in a second home in Melbourne with their father Nic Bideau – also her manager – was delighted she has made a dream come true.

She said: "Let’s remember I am Irish and they don’t come and compete in the Commonwealth Games but with dual nationality I can now do so. It’s a simple thing really."

But she insisted: "No matter what championship it might be, I would never compete against Ireland. That is the country where I was born and bred. But this is an exception.

"I plan running for them at the European Championships in the summer," she added.

Now O’Sullivan is looking forward along with other people granted citizenship, to swearing her allegiance to Australia and receiving her official papers at a public ceremony in Melbourne.

Then she plans to continue preparations for the Commonwealth Games where the track and field programme will take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground from March 19-26.

'OK which joker took my real flag'?
G'Day mates! What's the good word?

I think this is a real shame. As visitors to United Irelander will know, I support the idea of Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth as I think it would have many benefits for the island of Ireland including a chance to participate in the Commonwealth games.

While we refuse to even countenance the idea of rejoining, here we see an Irish athlete actually adopting another nationality to have a chance to participate! It would be so much simpler if we actually rejoined the organisation. Other republics are already there so what's stopping us?

I'll be rooting for Sonia if she does participate in the Commonwealth games, and I hope most Irish people will do the same and I think they will, but I can't help feeling that the best solution in the long run is for Irish athletes to participate in the Games under their own flag and colours.


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