Athletics Ireland has bestowed a Life Vice President award on AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin for his commitment to athletics and his vision of creating a "theatre of dreams for the youth and future stars in athletics" in the shape of the AIT International Athletics Arena.
Professor Ó Catháin, who has served at several senior levels of the organisation, including two terms as president, thanked the board and said he was “deeply moved and profoundly grateful” for such generous recognition.
“Athletics has been a central feature of my life - all my life, and I am indebted to you all for welcoming me into the Athletics Ireland family,” he said.
In athletics, he explained that he had found a home and said it is a sport that welcomes people of different talents and encourages them to try to be the best that they can be.
This, he said, endows young people with important life skills, such as self-discipline and perseverance, which have a hugely “positive and lasting impact on their lives.”
He also said that the athletics community in Ireland is a community built on volunteerism. Athletics is a force for “positive social change” he explained, adding that the endless training sessions conducted by voluntary coaches all over the country are hugely beneficial to young people.
During his tenure as president, Professor Ó Catháin developed and enhanced sporting infrastructure, including the AIT International Athletics Arena, to ensure Irish athletes had the best possible opportunities to develop their talents and that Ireland was able to attract the best athletes in the world to its shores.
The AIT International Athletics Arena, established in 2013, has become a springboard for new Irish sporting heroes and legends, inspiring generations of future athletic stars.
Congratulating Professor Ó Catháin on his award, Athletics Ireland President Georgina Drumm said she was delighted to acknowledge his contribution to the organisation by bestowing a Life Vice President award.
She also thanked him for his “commitment” to Athletics Ireland as chair of finance and risk, official starter and national president and for his "leadership” in developing the AIT International Arena.
She added that Professor Ó Catháin had fulfilled each role he held with a “level of professionalism that benefitted all.”
Watch Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin's acceptance speech here: