International ice-climber Eimir McSwiggan, from Gortin, has sensationally claimed third place overall in the World Cup competition which concluded in Denver last week.
It is a remarkable result for the former UH Hall of Fame recipient who is taking a well earned rest.
“Thrilled” with the bronze medal, Eimir has climbed four places in the world rankings after her seventh place finish at last year’s event.
The competition was run over six rounds in Cheongsong (South Korea), Beijing (China), Saas-Fee (Switzerland), Rabenstein (Italy), Champagny-en-Vanoise (France) and finally Denver (USA) with medals for each competition as well as the overall points collated to determine the outright World Championship positions.
Along the way she won a silver medal in Beijing and a bronze in Denver to claim third place behind Tolokonina Maria of Russia and Yoosun Shin of South Korea.
Eimir was introduced to the sport eight years ago when she moved to work in Korea and is the only ice-climber to represent Ireland at this level.
Speaking to the Herald, she said she was “overwhelmed” with the support she has received and still coming to terms with her achievement.
“I knew a third place in Denver would secure an overall third place in the standings. I found it difficult as I was tired with the exertions of the last few months. It was a new wall and a difficult route but of course it is the same for everyone.
“The crowd was incredible with over 12,000 fans cheering for all the competitors. We have never climbed in an atmosphere like that. The competition was streamed live as well with lots of messages of support from Gortin and other people I know or who follow the sport.”
It was a incredible performance from the 40-year-old who thought her chance of an overall World Cup medal place was gone.
She added, “When I fell in the first round in Cheongsong I thought I had blown it. I was so disappointed but thankfully I talked myself into going on and got a silver medal in
Beijing which got me back on track again. To be third overall in the world is like a dream. It will take a while for it to sink in as I have just returned to Korea and am getting ready to go back to work. I will take a rest for a few weeks now before the rock climbing season begins.
“I am very grateful for all the support from home and this year Colwyn Brunton of ‘Sperrin Outdoors’ in Cookstown sponsored me for clothing and a sports bag.
“My mother and family and friends watched the finals live at 2am in the morning. They were are all thrilled and having that support means so much to me.”