Olympic hopefuls awarded Sports Scholarships

Sarah Burns

Staff Writer

Eighteen students were awarded Trinity Sports Scholarships at the college’s annual ceremony including Rio 2016 Badminton hopeful Prakash Vijayanath. The eighteen-year-old South African is currently studying Computer Science and Business here at Trinity while also training at the Badminton Ireland High Performance Centre in Marino Institute of Education. The Johannesburg native is a member of the Badminton World Federation ‘Road to Rio’ group which is a select compilation of young talent whom have been identified as potential qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games. Vijayanath was the youngest competitor to win silver in the All African Men’s singles earlier this year and was also a member of the South African team who won gold at the event.

Scott Flanigan, who represented Ireland in sailing at the London Olympics, is also a scholarship receipt. Flanigan finished in fifth place in his final race at the Olympics, however, he recently decided to move from the 470 class to the 49er class. Speaking to Trinity News earlier this year Flanigan talked about the difficulty he had in fundraising for the 2012 Games. He explained “for the last campaign we had to do a huge amount of fundraising from different events to try and get sponsors. It’s the biggest thing that sailing struggles at, because it doesn’t have such wide [media] coverage. Obviously it’s getting a lot better but it doesn’t attract the big-name sponsors in Ireland that other sports traditionally might.”

Gaelic Games were heavily represented with Jacinta Brady and Lucy Mulhall receiving scholarships for Ladies Gaelic Football, Paul McPadden for the Men’s football and Waterford Hurler Paul Coughlan. Brady is the current captain for the Ladies Gaelic Football team and will be hoping to steer her squad to a consecutive Lynch Cup title after their victory over Dublin’s Institute of Technology in last year’s final.

Other recipients included Great Britain’s International Air Pistol Shooter Victoria Mullin, Kayaker Aisling Smith, Men’s Hockey Captain Stephen Ludgate and international paddlers Tom Brennan and Iomhar MacGiolla Phadraig.

Head of Sport and Recreation at Trinity, Michelle Tanner, emphasised the importance of the sports scholarship programme in attracting high performing students to the college stating “the rigours of competing at the top level in sport requires this level of support from the College. The talents we are recognising via the Sports Scholarship Programme continue to surpass expectations year-on-year and we must keep pace with the demands of the students and the competiveness of Trinity in this arena.” Tanner herself was a former player with the Irish Women’s Volleyball team in the early nineties.

Despite covering 13 different sports the number of recipients of scholarships is down on previous years with 28 in 2010, 22 in 2011 and 20 in 2012.