Tue, 03 Jul 2018 14:56:00 IST
The 2017/2018 season has been the most challenging one to date for DIT Elite Athlete Cormac Comerford.
It was his second year training and racing with the international race team ‘Kronplatz Racing Center’, who are an international team based in Italy with Olympic, European Cup and World Cup athletes.
Cormac told us "This season was the first season I felt I reached a real level of potential for the year. Since joining DIT and getting a place on the Athlete Support Programme I have been building my career up from rubble to where it is now. It was a year where I felt I was starting to thrive rather than survive which was really exciting for me."
"I was named part of a squad of Winter Olympic Hopefuls for PyeongChang 2018, attended various workshops and media days in conjunction with sport Ireland, the Olympic council of Ireland and the Snowsports Association of Ireland. I was the only athlete from the group based in Ireland. This Olympics would be the first year that Irish athletes were fighting to achieve the “A Standard” Qualification in order to be eligible for selection by the National Olympic Committee."
"With the Winter Olympics in February and an ever-shortening qualification period it was all or nothing. To qualify I needed to be ranked in the top 500 on the Olympic list “A Standard”. I didn’t have a strong campaign in the years leading up to the Olympics so my coach and I knew it was going to be a push to make the mark."
Despite big improvements in training it took a while before the results started to come in and he had a slow start to the season with results in Solda, Italy and Santa Caterina Valfura not being as good as he would have liked them to be.
"In Italy after Christmas I scored a record 43 points in Slalom and a 4th place in Abetone and a 4th place in Dobbiacho later that month, just 0.01 seconds from a 3rd place. The results from Dobbiacho are the best results ever achieved by anyone from the ski club of Ireland and anyone based in Ireland."
The average of the two results in Dobbiacho were good enough to put him into the top 500 but the average taken for the Olympic qualification list is from five results.
"The deadline for qualification came in February and I didn’t have an average to get me into the top 500 which meant I was not eligible for selection but I still managed to achieve “A Standard” (top 500) points twice so far in the season which was one of my main goals."
"I raced throughout Austria, Slovenia and Italy until the season ended and managed to score some solid results. One of the highlights was in Maribor which is a world cup venue. I managed to score again another record “A Standard” result amongst a tough field of competitors of mostly European cup racers."
Next year he will be competing in the World Championships in Are, Sweden and the World Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Cormac feels he is in a good position going into next season and aim to improve on all of his results on and off the piste. Cormac is also hoping to set up and develop some youth pathway and developments programs for Irish ski racing and get involved in promoting ski racing in Ireland and sport in general.
Cormac is a member of the DIT Elite Athlete Support Programme and says that "the scholarship has helped me in more ways then I could ever have imagined. The financial aid helped me get my career back on its feet. Access to the gym and training facilities gives me more time and flexibility when I’m at home studying and training. The credibility I receive because I’m scholarship student athlete in DIT gives me more leverage with sponsorships and within the sporting world as an elite athlete."
"I receive services such as strength and conditioning with the nation’s top coaches, nutrition aid, and the support of a dedicated team of people striving to help me make the most of my sporting and academic career, most of which I otherwise would never have the opportunity to access."
Being on the DIT Athlete Support Programme gives Cormac peace of mind that he can pursue both his academic and sporting careers to the fullest without compromising each other.