U20 Athlete of the Year Gina Akpe-Moses with her award at the Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards 2017 at Crowne Plaza in Santry, Dublin. PICTURE: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

ATHLETICS | The awards just keep on coming for Gina Akpe-Moses

Blackrock AC star named as U20 Athlete of the Year

The accolades just keep on coming for Dundalk girl Gina-Akpe Moses who was named as the U20 Athlete of the Year at the Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards in Santry on Wednesday afternoon.

The Blackrock AC star made history in July by becoming the first Irish athlete to win a European women’s sprint title at U20, U23 or senior level with a dazzling display in the 100m final at the European U20 Championships in Grosseto, Italy.

It was the highlight of a glorious summer for local athletics which also saw Gina’s former St Gerard’s AC club mates, Kate O’Connor and Patience Jumbo-Gula, shine at international events on the continent.

“I’m very proud of what we did,” Gina told Dundalk Sport after picking up her award at the Crowne Plaza in Santry.

“Dundalk is a small town and nobody outside of it really cares about it to be honest so it’s brilliant that we’re getting the town’s name out there.

“It shows the work that is being done at the clubs in Dundalk, building athletes up from a very young age.

“I always had support from St Gerard’s and from Blackrock and that helped to push me on to work hard, train hard and be the best I can be.”

Her gold medal win attracted plenty of headlines in the summer and Gina said she finally recognises the enormity of her achievement.

“A couple of months after, it has now officially sunk in,” she laughed. “The day I won it, and even for a few weeks after, I was thinking ‘okay, that’s just another race’ but now I realise that it was something amazing.”

She may be a European champion but Gina is not content to rest on her laurels and she said that winning gold has only made her hungry for more.

“Definitely,” she nodded when asked if she was intent on adding to her collection. “I want to win a lot more now.

“I’m dedicated to working harder and the aim at the upcoming indoors is to race well, get some Personal Bests and hopefully win a few championships.

“My coach is obviously invested in the World Indoor Championships but I’m trying to ease into it. If I make it, perfect, if not, I won’t be too worried about it.

“The main event for me is the World Junior Championships and to see what I can do at that.”

Her exploits on the track have made her a regular at awards ceremonies this year. Next up is another glitzy affair, the RTE Sports Awards next weekend.

“Yeah, it’s alright, I suppose,” she laughed when asked if she was enjoying rubbing shoulders with the stars. “I’m getting used to it!”

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