From one successful sportsperson to another, Rory, purely from an achievement perspective, it does not matter who you decide to represent in an international sports event (News, September 11).
We sportspeople are always labelled by the media and subsequently by communities and individuals.
Barry McGuigan was known as the great British champion when, as world champion, he flew to the USA.
And yet, when he lost, they called him the defeated Irishman.
Eddie Irvine was targeted when one Grand Prix organiser flew the Irish flag for him on the podium.
Personally, I have been delighted over the last 10 years to have represented Northern Ireland, Ireland and the British karate teams — both as a competitor and as a coach.
The difference is that karate news does not make the front page of the papers, so there is less pressure on individuals like me to do what the ‘people’ want.
I believe sportspeople in Northern Ireland have been denied opportunities for many years and we, as sportspeople, have a duty to make a stand in promoting what we do and encouraging our young athletes to take opportunities wherever they come along for international sports events.
So Rory don’t worry about these decisions too much, be proud of what you do and justify it as maximising your own opportunities.
(world champion 2003 and 2005)
Newtownards, Co Down