A CASTLETROY athlete will be flying the flag for Limerick later today when she has the honour of carrying the Olympic torch in London.
Siobhan Strike, daughter of the late University of Limerick professor Michael Hillery, was nominated to carry the famous torch last year by members of a sporting club she set up in London.
Ms Strike, a senior lecturer in sports science at Roehampton University, told the Limerick Chronicle she was “thrilled” to receive the call and later today she will run some 320 yards with the torch, before the Games begin on Friday, through the London borough of Hounslow.
“I’m very excited at the moment and starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. But I found out officially in March so I’ve had a bit of time to get used to the idea, but up to then I couldn’t tell anyone. There’s great excitement here; it’s a great time to be in London,” she said.
She was shortlisted last November, and has since passed through a number of security checks required to carry the torch.
The 42 year-old mother of two will have an army of supporters with her on the day, including her mother Kitty, who is flying over from Limerick, her four sisters, husband Jim and sons Tom, aged eight, and Sam, aged six.
In nominating her, her club said that in her professional life “she is an exceptional role model to her students” and has also “been a truly inspirational figure for many mums in our community.
Eighteen months ago she encouraged a number of mums to start a small running group. “To begin with the majority could not run more than 400m. Siobhan was so enthusiastic and motivational, she slowly built up the confidence of the group and within weeks we were running a couple of times a week and set ourselves a goal to run 5K for the race for life,” they said. Since then, many of the women have progressed on to running marathons.
Siobhan graduated from UL in 1992 with a BA in physical education and maths, before undertaking a PhD in biomechanics in the University of Ulster.