Meath woman hoping to inspire others
Justyne Collins says she's hoping her efforts to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in her chosen sport of karate, will inspire youngsters to achieve their sporting ambitions.
Collins, who is a teacher in Scoil Eoin Baiste, Nobber took part in an Olympic qualifying competition in Paris earlier this month and while she was unable to qualify from the highly competitive event that included competitors from all over Europe and beyond, she's glad she went for it.
"I'm hoping that the children in the school will see my push to qualify for the Olympics and how I really tried my best to get there," she told the Meath Chronicle.
"I'm hoping it will inspire them to do their best in their chosen sport, whatever that is.
"Hopefully we'll see some of them play football for Meath or achieve something in soccer, whatever, maybe win a football championship with Nobber.
"Perhaps my going for an Olympic place will inspire them to keep at it, to at least try to be the best they can be," she added.
Collins took park in the plus 61kg kumite (fighting) competition in Paris.
She was one of around 60 competitors in that section, but only three places were up for grabs for Tokyo, the figures underlying the type of intense competition she faced in the pressure-cooker environment.
The Nobber-based teacher says she learned a great deal from her experience in Paris where she was defeated by an opponent from Uzbekistan.
"I didn't perform as well as I could have in Paris. I think the nerves got the better of me on the day unfortunately.
"I have the fight recorded so I will look over it again, analyse it and make a plan going forward, but I'm going to keep training, keep competing.
"The standard was incredibly high, there were world champions who went out in the first round.
"My experience in Paris really brought home to me the importance of mental preparation, visualisation, seeing yourself scoring and winning."
Normally Collins' next big step would be the World Championships in November in Dubai but she has another appointment that clashes with that competition - her marriage to Nobber man Padraig Olwell.
She aims to keep training over the summer and perhaps later in the year travel to more open competitions abroad, if the public health situation allows.