History maker: Nicola Dore celebrates after her bronze medal win in France
A LIMERICK woman has made history as the first senior para powerlifter to take home a medal from a major international competition.
Nicola Dore, Kilcornan, scooped a bronze European medal at the World Para Powerlifting Open Europeans in France over the weekend – her first time making it on to the podium.
After returning home from Berck-sur-Mer, the athlete said that she was “still overwhelmed” with emotion after the incredible achievement.
“I can’t believe it. Just to watch the Irish flag being raised, that was a very emotional moment. It was my first time winning a major international medal, and then I find out that I’ve made history, because I’m the first senior athlete to have won a medal at a major international para powerlifting competition,” Nicola , who was born with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, told the Limerick Leader.
“I was ecstatic, to win it for Ireland, to win it for Limerick. I made my brothers cry, and they never cry!”
Nicola’s ultimate goal is to become the first Irish female powerlifter to compete at the Paralympics, at Tokyo 2020.
“For me to be guaranteed a medal I had to finish at the top of my group. I came out and lifted 66kg, and the Hungarian athlete lifted 66. Then I came out and lifted 68, then I was on top of the board again. Then she came out and lifted 68, but she didn’t get it, it was a bad lift.
“At that stage, I had won the medal, but I didn’t know at that point. I came out and lifted 70kg, which I didn’t need to get, but I did get it. I got three personal bests - it was my best performance at a competition to date,” she added.
Family and friends organised a surprise local homecoming for the athlete, who just started in the sport in 2015, aged in her 20s.
The night before her big day in France, she was awarded a Limerick Top 40 Under 40 gong, at an event attended by family members in her absence. A good omen, perhaps, for what was to come the next day.
But funding her involvement in the sport is no easy task for Nicola.
“I badly need a sponsor. I still have to self-fund everything and hold fundraisers, and I have very little funding left. It’s getting too hard to fund it myself – I can’t keep going back to the locals, they’ve been too good to me,” she said.
“I think I’ll be going to Britain in the next five weeks, for a British competition, and then possibly England in October but that will all depend on funding. The next big one, on my pathway to Tokyo, is Dubai next February.”