Tara Donoghue (17) has officially become the first ice skater to qualify a quota spot for Ireland at a Youth Olympic Games. This spot was obtained based solely on Donoghue’s performance at last weekend’s International Skating Union (ISU) Junior World Cup Speed Skating event in Enschede, Netherlands.
The Youth Olympic Games are an elite multi-sport event for young people from all over the world. The sports programme is based on that of the Olympic Games, with 7 sports featuring on the winter programme. The next edition are scheduled to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland in January 2020. For the speed skating events at next year’s Games, competitors must be born between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2004. Unfortunately, Donoghue’s date of birth is 11 December 2001 meaning she will miss out on competing in Lausanne.
“It’s a huge honour to be the first ice skater to qualify a spot for Ireland at the Youth Olympics,” Donoghue said. “Although it’s bittersweet for me because I am too old by 20 days to participate, this disappointment is going to spur me on to work even harder.”
Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) President Karen O’Sullivan said, “This is an amazing achievement by Tara to earn the first ever ice skating spot for Ireland at the Winter Youth Olympic Games and is a testament to the bright future she has in the sport.”
Donoghue is already qualified for the ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating Final in Minsk, Belarus and the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland. Both competitions will be held in February 2020.