BY KIERAN McCARTHY
IT’S the Skibbereen club that has produced five Olympians and now it wants to ensure that it keeps West Cork on the world sporting map.
Skibbereen Rowing Club’s fantastic feats are known throughout the land, and in the last few weeks brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan have qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. They follow in the footsteps of Eugene and Richard Coakley, and Timmy Harnedy.
The club has launched a new fundraising initiative, The Road to Rio and Beyond, with the aim of upgrading its equipment and providing Skibbereen athletes with the necessary tools they need to continue to compete on the world stage.
The concept is simple, as the club is asking the local community to travel with it on the 8,914km (as the crow flies) to Rio, where next summer’s Olympic Games will be held, and where Skibb brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan will row for Ireland.
Those who take part in The Road to Rio and Beyond ‘can cycle, walk, run, row or swim or any activity’ they like to add kilometres to the club’s target of 8,914km.
Those who take part can pledge their distance and make a donation or get their family and friends to sponsor them.
Another idea is to run an event and donate the proceeds or those interested in helping can just make a donation to the club’s GoFundMe account (gofundme.com/roadtorioandbeyond).
The initiative was launched, at the recent Taste of West Cork Food, by club president Nuala Lupton, the first Skibbereen Rowing Club athlete to compete in the world championships.
Skibbereen Rowing Club has created a Facebook page, The Road to Rio and Beyond, where it posts and publishes pictures of fundraising efforts.
One of the many great fundraising ideas include James Tidmarsh and Dara O’Brien, two of Cork’s junior kite surfers, tracking exactly (using GPS) how far they kite during a day’s kiting.
They are hoping that family and friends will support Skibbereen Rowing Club athletes by sponsoring them for each kilometre they kite.
Sponsorship forms and pledge cards are available from Seymour Jewellers in Skibbereen, contact Debbie Heaphy (086-2450530) or send an email to Skibbereen Rowing Club’s website.