DCU alumnus Jenny Egan was ranked number one in the world in the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Sprint world rankings 5000m.
Egan, who studied athletic therapy and training, said she was delighted that her world cup and world championship 5000m sprint results combined led to being ranked as the best.
“I hope that it will be the start of many more great results in the future.”
In August 2018, Egan became the first ever medalist for Ireland at the ICF Senior Canoe Sprint World Championships after she won a bronze medal and is one of Ireland’s most successful athletes.
“That was a really special moment for me, my family, my club and our country. It’s always been a major goal of mine to get on that podium and it was so special because I was the first athlete to do it.”
Egan also won the first goal medal for Ireland at the ICF Senior Canoe Sprint World Cup 3 in 2016. Egan has yet to qualify for the Olympics, but she said that the setbacks she’s faced in her career have made her appreciate success more.
“In every walk of life, everyone has some setbacks. Be it school, college, family – sport is no different to that. Of course you’re gonna be really sad and tired and have your tears because you’ve worked so hard and you don’t understand why it hasn’t worked out,” she said.
“I think if you have a passion for something, everything else will come together because no matter what happens you love your sport and you’ll continue then to try and achieve in the future.”
Egan got involved in the sport from a very young age as her mother and father were both canoeists, along with her brother Peter.
Egan is coached by both her brother Peter and her fiancé Jon Simmons, and she said her training is quite intense. She trains six days a week with three sessions per day.
“It’s a full time job. It’s not just the training you do on the water, it’s everything else. You’re always thinking about what you can do to improve.”
Egan mostly trains with men as there are no other women in Ireland at her level who compete internationally in sprint canoe. However, she also attends training camps abroad with international women’s teams.
“It’s good for me to get away to train with girls to be able to compare myself because they’re the ones I’m going to be competing against.”
Egan is the only athlete on the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Steering Committee, and she said that along with initiatives like the 20×20 campaign are essential.
“It’s extremely important for young girls to be able to see female athletes competing. That’s why women in sport events need to be televised so that young kids can see them,” she said. “They need to be in the media all the time.”
“It’s my responsibility as an ambassador for my sport to do as many different media opportunities that I can so young girls can see me and hear what I’ve achieved.”
Image Credit: Independent.ie