Ireland’s fastest man Israel Olatunde is back home with his family in Dundalk, Co Louth celebrating his record-breaking performance at the European Championships.
The 20-year-old applied some breakneck speed to his return trip, arriving home from Munich a day before the rest of his team-mates.
The remainder of the team of over 35 athletes arrived at Dublin Airport on Monday morning where they were met with flowers and a heroes’ welcome. Some, including Israel, had been given dispensation to travel early in order to meet personal commitments at home.
Their thoughts and reflections on a highly successful Irish team performance – two medals and three Irish records broken – will be discussed in a series of media interviews later this week.
“This was a highly successful European Championships,” said a team spokeswoman. “We had both established Irish talent proving that they are the crème de la crème of European athletics, and the future of Irish athletics is so bright.”
Much of the focus has been on Israel Olatunde’s remarkable achievement – smashing Ireland’s record in the 100 metres with a time of 10.17 seconds.
A well-played video on social media shows the moment Olatunde, draped in the tricolour, realised he had become Ireland’s fastest man.
As he settled back in with family at his home in Dundalk on Monday, Louth County Council Cathaoirleach Conor Keelan said any potential homecoming event would be discussed at a meeting of the corporate policy group in September.
“I thought he preformed excellently for such a young man,” said Cllr Keelan. “I understand that as well as his performance in athletics, he also played rugby in school. His former principal said that he had left his mark in many fields.”
Athletics Ireland’s president John Cronin and chief executive Hamish Adams were in Munich to celebrate the team’s achievements before their return home.
Ireland secured two medals when Ciara Mageean took silver in the 1500 metres final and Mark English claimed bronze in the 800 metres.