Hockeyroo Heberle named Irish chef de mission as OFI announce key athlete developments

1983 Hockey World Cup medalist Patricia Heberle has been named as the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s Chef de Mission for the 2019 European Games in Minsk and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Heberle has considerable high Performance and Olympic experience. As an athlete, she won a bronze medal at the 1983 Women’s Hockey World Cup with Australia’s Hockeyroos and finished fourth at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

For the Sydney Olympic campaign, she served as assistant coach for the Australian gold meal winning team.

In 2001 she was appointed head coach of the England and Great Britain women’s team, leading England to silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Since then, she has been a high performance administrator and has been working since 2017 for the Olympic Federation of Ireland as its High Performance Lead.

She has recently been involved in leading the Sparking Performance programme for NGB Performance Directors through the Sport Ireland Institute.
“This role means a huge amount to me,” she said of the role. “I have participated in the three Olympic games both as an athlete and a coach and the opportunity to be Chef de Mission for Team Ireland is both a huge honour and a privilege.

“I am coming into the role at a very exciting time for Irish Sport, having been involved for some time in the Irish high performance system.

“The people involved, the funding coming from government and Sport Ireland is starting to deliver some really good results.”

Previously the role of Chef de Mission was recruited internally or on a voluntary basis. This is the first time that it will be a professional, stand-alone role.

Her appointment came on the same day the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) and Sport Ireland Institute announced a “ground-breaking, athlete centred partnership agreement for performance support delivery for the period 2018-2022”.

The press release describes it as “a comprehensive performance support programme for Team Ireland, covering athlete life-skills, sports science and medicine as well as various Games readiness activities before, during and after Games time.

“Previously, Irish Olympians did not always have the same medical support care team looking after their needs before, during and after Games.

“Instead there was often a handover of care from one medical team to another at Games time. Following feedback from athletes post the Rio Games the OFI and Sport Ireland institute came together to put this new athlete centred support plan in place.

“This new partnership aims to align all sport science and medical care so that athletes can perform to their full potential. The OFI and Sport Ireland have agreed to jointly fund this new partnership and it will be delivered through partnership with the OFI, Sport Ireland Institute, the National Governing Bodies and the Performance Directors.”

The third part of the announcement saw Fukuroi City and the Ecopa Stadium facilities have been selected as the pre-games training camp for Team Ireland prior to Tokyo 2020.

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