'BELIEVE you can, and you’re halfway there,' said the great Theodore Roosevelt.
For 13-year-old Blarney girl Hannah Falvey, her ambition to compete and medal at an Olympics is a focus of hers, and one in which she believes she is on the right track in order to do so.
She recently won two gold at the Indoor Scottish Nationals, winning both the 60m and 200m events, while also breaking records and this young promising star is set for huge success.
Here she tells us about her love for athletics and her desire to be the best she can be.
“To compete and medal in an Olympics is my ultimate dream goal,” said Hannah.
“I took up athletics with my cousins, Alex and Laura, when I was seven years old with Belgooly AC.
“I stepped onto the track back then and I have rarely been off it since.
“I always loved running and was never still to be honest. I played a small bit of soccer but once I started athletics I didn’t want to do any other sports. I was definitely hooked.
“Athletics just clicked with me. And it became my main focus and love in wanting to be successful, while also enjoying every minute of it.
“I love training, I love being on the track and all while meeting my friends, so it really is a great past time, and being successful is an added bonus.”
The first year Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal student is multi talented and competes in many different events, which she believes helps her to be the athlete she is today.
“In athletics I do as many events as I can as it keeps me fit and I feel one event helps with the others and I genuinely enjoy the variety.
“I have been doing Sprints 60m, 80m and 200m, Hurdles, Long jump, High Jump, Shot Putt as individual events Indoors and Outdoors and I love them all. Also, I do Combined Events.
“Combined Events is a pentathlon with five events and you get points for each event.
“The winner is the person with the most points at the end.
“I won the National U15 Girls Indoor Combined Events this year with a Championship best record 3,204 points and then won the Schools Indoor National Indoor combined events representing my school in Blarney which was a great occasion for myself, my family, my club and school.
“I have had a lot of successes over the years winning National and Muster Indoor and Outdoor Championships in all my events but sprints are definitely my favourite.
“I train with my club, Belgooly AC, three times a week at CIT. Our training sessions are a little tense yet enjoyable.
“We do four laps of a 400m track followed by drills, stretches and a full intense training session. Also, Cork Athletics have a Cork Youth Development/winter training sessions in CIT once a month on a Saturday with different coaches from different clubs coming together to train athletes from all Cork athletic clubs so I am certainly kept busy and I love it.”
People sometimes think that athletics is a lonely sport but, for Hannah, training by herself helps her focus, and more often than not, although competing in individual events, she can train with a group at any time.
“We mix it up a little training by ourselves and with others.
“To be honest for the majority of the time I train with others. Even training with other athletes, I have learned to focus on what I need to do and what my coaches tell me.
“I would not be able to do it without the knowledge and support from the coaches which I am always very grateful for.
“2020 couldn’t have begun any better for me. I competed in Scotland at the Indoor Scottish Nationals.
“I ran in the 60m and 200m and won both, breaking both records with 7.65s in the 60m and 25.37s in the 200m which I was absolutely thrilled about.
“I was really excited about pushing on from those wins."
Up next was the Indoor All-Ireland Championships but unfortunately due to Covid-19 it has been postponed until a later date.
“I was really looking forward to it and hoping to do my best as I did in Scotland, so it was really disappointing when everything was put on hold. However, being healthy is much more important and I have no doubt when all this passes, hopefully I won’t have to wait too much longer to compete and hopefully be successful again on the track.
“At the moment, I can’t train as normal but I am trying the best I can to keep up my fitness.
“My parents take me out to do two and three km runs and I keep up my stretches and they remind me constantly that I have the same determination or madness as my dad’s first cousin Pat Falvey who climbed Mount Everest twice.
“My mum and dad have always been a huge support to me and we all know how important sport is in our lives.
“It certainly keeps me active and healthy, and it gives me a massive determination and drive to be the best athlete I can be.
“I cannot wait to get back on the track to compete. Hopefully sooner rather than later.”