Irish teen athlete secures gold a month after brother's tragic death

Nick Griggs, from Newmills, Co Tyrone, who clinched gold on Saturday in Tallinn, Estonia, lost his older brother Josh (19) in June after a fatal accident
Irish teen athlete secures gold a month after brother's tragic death

Sarah Slater

A 16-year-old who tragically lost his brother in an accident last month stormed to victory in the 3,000m race at the European U20 championships over the weekend.

Nick Griggs, from Newmills, Co Tyrone, who clinched gold on Saturday in Tallinn, Estonia, lost his older brother Josh, 19, in June when the teenager, was cleaning gutters at Foxleigh Fields housing estate in Banbridge, Co Down, as part of a summer job, when a lorry reversed into scaffolding, causing him to fall.

The up-and-coming Gaelic footballer, who was a former pupil at Cookstown High School, was a member of Brackaville Owen Roes GFC. He had been recently named the club's 2020 reserve player of the year.

Griggs produced a superb run to kick away from the field and claim the 3,000m title - a feat that lifted Ireland to the top of the medal table on Saturday evening.

The Mid-Ulster AC man who belied his tender years delivered a brilliant display and put the cherry on top of a truly memorable day for Irish athletics.

Fourth Irish gold

Griggs won Ireland's fourth gold medal after taking control of proceedings over the last 200m and looked very much in control as he crossed the line in 8.17.18 to claim the historic win.

A spokesperson for Athletics Ireland said: “Rhasidat Adeleke, Cian McPhillips, and Nicholas Griggs created Irish athletics history by winning three gold medals on day three of the European U20 Championships in Tallinn.

“One of the biggest roars of the day was heard as 16-year-old Nicholas Griggs (Mid-Ulster AC) unlocked a final 2:31 kilometre to run away from the field in the 3000m final to claim yet another gold medal for Ireland.

“Griggs, who suffered enormous personal tragedy only last month showed race management which belied his years to beat the best U20 athletes in Europe in stunning fashion, crossing the line in 8:17.18.”

The haul of four gold medals already represents Ireland’s most successful ever championships.

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