A blind athlete from Cork has flown out this morning to the Ultrarunning World Championships after winning a discrimination case against the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU).
Sinéad Kane from Youghal had reached the qualification standard for the 24-hour race, but wasn’t initially selected by Athletics Ireland to take part because the IAU deemed her guide runner to be ‘outside assistance’.
This meant that if she were to run as part of the Irish team with her guide, she would be disqualified and her results discounted, therefore hindering the overall team results.
“The IAU said to me that for me to have a guide runner would be an unfair advantage over fully sighted runners,” Sinead told the Echo at the time.
“No athlete in the championships would elect to run blindfolded with a guide giving instructions for 24 hours. Drug cheats are welcome to take part after a ban, but there are no plans, ever, for a blind athlete," she said.
An open race is run alongside the World Championships in which 100 additional athletes with no qualification standards can enter. Sinéad had been permitted to enter this race, but not the competitive race wearing the Irish singlet.
She has since appealed the decision and took a discrimination case against the IAU, which she won.
Sinéad has flown out this morning with the rest of the Irish team to France, and will be permitted to take part in the race.
The squad will be captained by the 2018 Ultra Runner of the year Aidan Hogan from Rising Sun AC, Cork.
The 24-hour Ultrarunning World Championship race will take place on the 26th and 27th of October in Albi, France.