DCU alumnus Jenny Egan was recognised in the Irish Times’ “20 best moments of the year in women’s sport” list as last year she won two World Cup medals on back to back weekends.
The first was a silver World Cup medal at the Senior Canoe Sprint World Cup 1 in Posnan, Poland, while the following weekend she earned a bronze medal at the Senior Canoe Sprint World Cup 2 in Duisberg, Germany.
“They were two extremely hard competitions and to be able to produce medals two weekends back to back was amazing,” Egan told The College View.
Egan was delighted that she was included in the Irish Times’ list among such famous international athletes.
“When I first read it, I thought it was amazing anyway that I was one of the top 20 best moments, I thought it was in Irish women in sport,” she said. “Then I saw all these women from around the world and I was like “Oh my god,” like I couldn’t believe that I was picked as one of them.”
Egan has two chances left to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, so she is hard at work training. To qualify she has to place in the top two at the European Qualifier in May in Racice, Czech Republic, or get one quota place at the World Cup 2 in Duisberg.
Last year Egan produced the new Irish national record in the 200m sprint at 40.6 seconds, which was almost a second off her previous record time.
“The margins between the girls are so little over 200 metres and with so few quota places available, you know it is a very hard task. But I’m going for it.”
For the K1 200m and 500m sprints at the Olympics, only eight boats in total can compete. “I think it has to be the hardest sport in the world to qualify for,” she said.
Last Saturday, Egan traveled to Florida where she will spend almost six weeks at a training camp with the Danish women’s kayak team. She’ll then come back home to Ireland for a week before heading off again to Portugal for a three week training camp with the team.
“To go and have training camps with the women that I’ll compete against is amazing because then it gives me an idea of what I need to do to be the best in the world,” she said.
Egan’s training routine is intense as she trains 14 to 16 sessions per week with just one day off. She’s out on the water early every morning in the cold, but Egan is an incredibly determined person. “I want to be the best I can be and hopefully get on that podium again in the summer months,” the former DCU student said.
Egan is the only athlete representative on the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Steering Committee. Sport Ireland’s Women in Sport policy aims to improve women’s sport by focusing on four target areas, which are coaching and officiating, active participation, leadership and governance, and visibility.
“I’m an ambassador for my sport, so it’s my responsibility to try and promote our sport,” she said. “Visibility for us is key, so that’s one area that I can really work on as an athlete.”