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Mayo pair causing a ‘racquet’ in Colombia?


LOCAL STARS Majella Haverty (Castlebar) and Donna Ryder (Newport)  will represent Ireland at the 18th IRF World Championships in Cali, Colombia from July 16-23.

Ger Flanagan

NOT many Mayo people will be aware that the International Racquetball Federation World Championships begin next Friday in Cali, Colombia.
Even fewer will be aware that the two ladies selected to represent Ireland in South America at the world games hail from Mayo.
Donna Ryder (26) from Newport and Majella Haverty (25) from Castlebar will both don the Irish jersey in the hope of bringing home some gold in the doubles competition.
“We are feeling very positive,” Donna told The Mayo News yesterday (Monday). “We have put in a lot of hard work and a lot of training, so that’s why we are both feeling very confident … I think it is the most confident I have felt going into any tournament, so we’re hoping for big results.”
In order to be selected to represent Ireland at the World Games, both women had to display an elite level of fitness at gruelling training camps as well as placing in the national competition, which they did (first and third respectively). This extensive route is something Donna feels will stand to them on the world stage.
“The Worlds is the biggest competition there is for us,” she explained. “Everyone and anyone can turn up to the US Open, but it’s the best of the best at the Worlds … It’s a great honour, there are not many athletes who get to represent their country. So any day you get to put on any Irish jersey is a great day.”
The Masters student who also works in Homeland in Westport, is extremely grateful to her employers for allowing her to chase her dream, and for the support she has received from the community.
“There are not many companies that will give you time off work to do this, because I need about six or seven weeks in total to go to America to train. Everyone in town, between Newport and Westport, are sending their best wishes and saying good luck.
“It is a lot easier to do it with that amount of support behind you, so just get me on the plane now as the sooner I am out there the better.”
The duo’s opening match will take place this Friday, and you can follow their progress on their Facebook pages, where they will be posting regular updates throughout their two-and-a-half-week stay.