Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Padraig Harrington believes Egan has focus to snatch gold

Golfing legend Padraig Harrington reckons his 'sparring partner' Kenny Egan is focused enough to go all the way to Olympic gold and glory in Beijing.

Harrington was delighted to learn of the medal-clinching feats of fellow Dub Egan and Belfast's Paddy Barnes as he prepared for this week's Barclays Championship in New Jersey.



"That's great news, I'd been looking out for their results," said Harrington, who welcomed Egan (28) to his home in Rathmichael for a lengthy chat in the run-up to Beijing.



"A couple of times in the past athletes have come and asked for advice, Kenny being one of them," Harrington said. "Basically, we talked about how to peak -- how to produce your best performance at the big event. "Obviously, as a very talented competitor himself, Kenny knew what to do but probably felt he was slightly underachieving at the big event. We had a good day together. I went through a few things, gave him a bit of advice and a few sports psychology books.



"Yet I won't take any credit for what he's achieved. The things he's been saying are nice but boxers put in an incredible amount of work and it's wonderful to see it paying off.



"One of the keys I put across to him at the time is his ability to do his own thing, to be self-sufficient and concentrate on his own performance and not be distracted.



"There should be only one thought in his head at this stage -- his semi-final bout and not getting drawn up into how he's done so far."



As a golfer, Harrington reckons he's one big advantage over many other sportsmen, explaining: "I'm 36 years old and I've spent probably 20 years gaining the experience I have.



"Some Olympic athletes, gymnasts for example, are asked to be worldly experienced at age 16, which is an incredibly difficult thing to do.



"The only way to tap into experience, without actually going through it yourself, is to learn from books and listen to other people."



"I've been motivated since age 18 to seek help outside of the mainstream. I believe the better people in all sports seek out help wherever they can find it and it's great that Kenny wasn't afraid to ask a couple of people to make the contact with me.



"I love to talk, as you know," added Harrington.



"Though I must mention that I had a talk with the Dublin football team a few years ago and the following day they went out and lost to Carlow.



"So I can't say I've a 100pc record in these things, but it's great to see Kenny doing well and it's exciting for me to have someone to follow at the Olympics. We all wish him the very best going forward."

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