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Thomas Barr & Nicole Drought Launch Team Ireland’s World University Games Campaign

Thomas Barr met Irish Sportswoman of the Year Nicole Drought for some high speed action at Mondello Park recently. Pictured are the pair launching Team Ireland’s involvement in the 2017 World University Games.
Whilst at Mondello Park, Barr enjoyed some high speed laps alongside Nicole in her 300bhp Ginetta G50. The Olympian then took the wheel himself, in one of the race prepared Honda Civics and impressed his instructor with his immediate pace.
In August of this year, 60 Irish students will travel to Tapei as the Student Sport Ireland team for the World University Games. The name for the world university games, “Universiade”, is derived from the words “University” and “Olympiade”. The Universiade is organised by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) as an international multi-sports event for university athletes. In 1923, the first World University Games (WUG) were held and in 1949, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) was established, and the first FISU Games were held in Italy. The Games are second in size only to the Olympics with around 13,000 competitors and officials participating. The 2017 WUG programme will compromise of fourteen compulsory sports and eight optional sports and which are determined by the relevant host country. The Games are staged in various cities throughout the world.

The Irish delegation at the 2015 Games held in Gwangju, South Korea consisted of 64 athletes and 27 team officials and was supported by third level colleges and universities, the relevant National Governing Sports Bodies and Sport Ireland.

The Games are now an established part of high performance programmes for many Irish athletes in a range of different sports, many of the athletes being funded by Sport Ireland’s high performance programme and are an ideal stepping stone for young high performance athletes who are either moving from age group events or starting to show significant promise in their chosen sport. The Games also act as a significant learning / training opportunity for both athletes and officials in a high performance and global multi-sport environment, which places both athletes and officials at an advantage for the Olympic Games.

Student Sport Ireland is the sole sanctioning body responsible for identifying, selecting and coordinating the Irish delegation to the 2017 Games. Student Sport Ireland also establishes selection criteria and appoints the Team Managers, coaching staff in each sport in conjunction with the relevant NGBs in addition to overseeing the appointment of medical, administrative and PR personnel.As the governing body of third level sport in Ireland Student Sport Ireland’s vision is to work in partnership with national and international bodies identifying pathways for college communities to participate, compete and develop through sport and physical activity. Student Sport Ireland’s mission is to promote and develop third level sport in Ireland.

Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Thomas Barr is 400M Hurdler from Dunmore East in County Waterford. A six time Irish Champion, Thomas won Gold at the 2015 World University Games and finished fourth in the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio. In 2011 he made University of Limerick his high performance home. Since then he has climbed the ranks and broken the national U23 and senior records in the process, and represented Ireland numerous times on the European and world stages. All the way through, completing a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and after four years was awarded a first class honours degree. In 2016 he graduated from UL with a Masters in Sports Performance.

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Nicole Drought, 22, is a native of Roscrea in Tipperary. A former All Ireland winning Camogie Captain, she made her motor racing debut in 2015, driving a 250bhp Honda Integra in the Irish Touring Car Championship. In 2016, she became the first Irish Ambassador for the Sean Edwards Foundation and accepted their invitation to travel to Le Castellet in France to test a GT3 Porsche 911. Also in 2016, she became a member of the Murphy Prototypes Young Driver programme and attended an ELMS race in France with the Irish based European sportscar team.  In December 2016, Nicole was voted Irish Sportswoman of The Year, taking a massive 20% of the public vote- the first for a racing driver against far higher profile sports. for 2017, Nicole will race in the UK New Millennium Series in a 300bhp Ginetta G50. She has just completed a Bachelor of Business degree in the University of Limerick majoring in accounting and finance.

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