Experienced Professionals to Support Team Ireland Following Robust Selection Process
10 September, 2020
Following a robust selection process, the Olympic Federation of Ireland today named the team of Medical Officers (MO) who will support Team Ireland athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. Dr Alan Rankin was appointed as Deputy Chief Medical Officer and MO for the pre-games training camp in Fukoroi. Dr Suzi Clarke and Dr George Fuller will be based in Tokyo and Dr Frank O’Leary will lead the medical support in Sapporo. All four will work directly with Team Ireland Chief Medical Officer Dr Jim O’Donovan in the build up to, and throughout the Games period.
- Dr Alan Rankin will be based in the Pre-Games Training Camp in Fukuroi. He is a Consultant in Sports Medicine based in Belfast where provides medical support athletes at the Sport Northern Ireland Sports Institute. Dr Rankin has more than 20 years of experience working in high performance and Olympic sports, including three years as Medical Lead at the Sport Ireland Institute, London and Rio Olympic Games and has previously served as Medical Officer for Athletics Ireland.
- Dr Suzi Clarke will be based in the headquarters in Tokyo where she will support the hockey team and other sports. She is a Consultant in Sports Medicine based in Dublin and has professional and Olympic sport experience working at the London Games and previously with the Irish Women’s and Men’s Hockey teams, FAI, Athletics Ireland and Swim Ireland.
- Dr George Fuller will be based in the headquarters in Tokyo where he will support the rowing team and other sports. He has been a GP in practice for 14 years based in Cork where he has supported the Rowing Ireland High Performance Programme for 11 years. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Sport & Exercise Medicine and was Medical Officer to Team Ireland for the European Youth Olympic Festival in Georgia in 2015, World Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires 2018, and one of the medical officers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
- Dr Frank O’Leary will be based in Sapporo where he will lead medical support for the marathon and walks team. He was Medical Officer for Team Ireland at the Baku European Youth Olympic Festival 2019, has previously supported Irish international rugby as team doctor and has worked with the Sport Ireland Institute as MO since 2017.
A key objective in the recruitment process was to ensure a seamless transition for athletes from their normal training and competition environment to the Olympic Games and Chief Medical Officer Dr Jim O’Donovan is satisfied with these appointments, acknowledging the continuity of care for athletes who will work with professionals with whom they are familiar.
O’Donovan said, “A rigorous selection process has provided our medical team and athletes with the opportunity to work alongside some excellent, experienced and trusted colleagues from across Ireland.
“Tokyo will provide a number of medical challenges and I am confident our doctors will fit in to our multi-disciplinary team seamlessly with a number of them working alongside our athletes and staff already. I am confident the knowledge, experience and expertise we now have within our medical team will ensure Team Ireland athletes are fully prepared and will help them achieve their goals.”
Head of Performance Support Phil Moore added, “The Medical team will be well-known to the Olympic athletes in Tokyo. One of our key criteria in the robust selection process was to ensure that there was a continuity of care for athletes going to the Games and this is a particularly strong feature of this team. There is a real depth of expertise in this medical team and strong working relationships with the athletes and coaches of Team Ireland.”
In July the physiotherapy support team was announced for the Tokyo Olympic Games which will now take place from the 23 July to the 8 August 2021. Irish athletes are currently in the qualification stages across their sports, and at this stage there are 52 athlete spots confirmed already for Team Ireland.