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Focus Must Be On Athletes: Commonwealth Games Manager

It is important not to forget about the Commonwealth Games athletes in the media furore surrounding conditions of accommodation for the competition, according to the Northern Ireland team manager.

University of Ulster Sports Development Manager and Northern Ireland’s General Team Manager Alison Moffitt said that the important thing is to keep the athletes focused on their performance and not to let them get distracted from their goals.

The Games, which get under way on 3 October, has been embroiled in controversy with the athletes village coming in for criticism from a number of countries for not reaching standards fit for the international sports stars to live in.

"The most important thing for us is to look after the welfare of our athletes and to help them keep focussed on what they are going to the Games to do.  We need to try and ensure that their preparations are the best that they can be, regardless of everything else that is going on," Alison Moffitt said.

"It is impossible for our athletes not to be aware of the ongoing concerns raised in the media, but we are continuing our preparations that we hope will give our sports men and women the opportunity to shine on this Commonwealth stage.

"We have Team NI representatives already in Delhi and will provide the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council and our Team NI officials with an update on the current situation in Delhi and plans in relation to our participation, at a committee meeting on Friday evening."

The University of Ulster will have six students, three staff and nine graduates in the team for the 19th Commonwealth Games.

There are high hopes for second year Sports Studies sprinter Amy Foster who will be competing in the 100m and 200m, while fellow year two student of Sports Technology Conor Leaney will be in the pool for the swimming events and Tom Reynolds who is studying for a PGCE at Ulster is competing in the decathlon.

Another post-graduate on the team is Masters of Business Administration student James McIlroy who will be challenging in the 800m and 1,500m.

"It is great to see such a strong cohort from the University of Ulster taking part. It is a young Commonwealth Games team and we have two first year students, Mark O’Hara in boxing and Bethany Carson in swimming, taking part." Alison continued.

"The University is committed to developing the sports stars of the future and the chance for our students to experience competition at this level is something that is key to both   their athletic and personal development."

Joining Alison in the ranks of University of Ulster and Team NI staff are Ricky Lee and David Reid. Ricky is part of the headquarters staff and David is team coach for athletics.

David joined the School of Sports Studies as a lecturer in Sport and Exercise (Sports Coaching) in 2008 but prior to this had worked as the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland’s (SINI) athletics high performance manager.

He was sprints coach for the Great Britain 2005 European U23 Championships and the 2007 European Youth Olympics.

This year however is not David’s first association with the Commonwealth Games as he was an athletics coach for the 2002 Games in Manchester and the 2006 Games in Melbourne.

Ulster Students part of Team NI: ­

Amy Foster - Athletics   100m / 200m                   (2nd year Sports Studies)
Tom Reynolds - ­ Athletics  Decathlon                      (PGCE)
James McIlroy - ­ Athletics 800m/1500m                 (MBA)
Mark O’Hara - ­ Boxing                                           (entering 1st year)
Conor Leaney - ­ Swimming                                    (2nd year Sports Technology)
Bethany Carson - ­ Swimming                                 (entering 1st year ­ Sports Science)

Ulster officials part of Team NI:

Alison Moffitt    - General Team Manager             (Sports Development Manager)          
Ricky Lee - ­ HQ Staff                                          (Sports Union ­ Focus Sport Development and Events Officer)
David Reid - ­ Team Coach, Athletics                     (Lecturer in Sport &Exercise - School of Sports Studies)

Ulster Graduates part of Team NI: ­

Clare McCoy - ­ Press Officer
Conal Heatley ­ - HQ Staff
Matthew Gleave - ­ Badminton
Eamonn O’Kane ­ - Boxing
Zoe Barr - ­ Squash
Mark Montgomery - ­ Wrestling
Phil Glasgow - ­ Physiotherapist (SINI)
Chris McNicholl - ­ Physiotherapist (SINI)
Des Jennings - ­ Performance Skills Coach (SINI)