BELFAST’S LISA KEARNEY looks set to become Ireland’s latest Olympian when the judo qualifiers for London 2012 are ratified early next week.
Kearney, 22, made her comeback from injury at this week’s European Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia, which doubles up as the final qualification tournament for the Olympics.
Although she was beaten in her second round 48kg fight against the eventual winner Alina Dumitru of Romania, Kearney is expected to remain inside the qualification places which will be confirmed on Tuesday.
She will become the first woman to represent Ireland in Olympic judo. Her coach Ciaran Ward, performance director with the Irish Judo Association, competed at Barcelona 1992 and again four years later in Atlanta.
The Board of the Irish Judo Association would like to congratulate Lisa Kearney on her outstanding performances over the last two years to earn her place in the London 2012 games. Following a long and tough qualification process, Lisa and her coach Ciaran Ward have been duly rewarded with an Olympic place this summer.
The Board & its members have been wholly supportive of Lisa’s campaign and are delighted that such a wonderful ambassador for the sport of judo has achieved her Olympic dream. The Association would like extend their best wishes to Lisa’s parents and family who have been an immense support to Lisa over her career.
The Board would like to thank the Irish Sports Council, the Olympic Council of Ireland, Sport NI, The Institute of Sport and Sports Institute Northern Ireland for the continuous support received over the last 2 years. We wish Lisa the very best for London 2012.