Longford high jumper Nelvin Appiah is set to become Longford’s first senior Irish international in 30-years at this week’s European Games.
Appiah take’s his senior international bow, just five days after completing his leaving cert as part of the first Irish athletics team to compete in the European Games.
“I’m really proud of myself and my coaches and friends who have encouraged me and told me to keep going with my athletics” explained Appiah.
Appiah bowed out of secondary school taking All-Ireland schools high jump gold with a best of 2.10 metres, a performance that set him up for his senior international bow.
“When I got the e-mail I was just shooked” laughed Appiah. “I thought it would be just like an under-20 competition, but I’m up against all these senior internationals.”
“I’m up against the Ukrainian (Bohdan Bondarenko) who’s the world lead (2.31m) this year, I’m up against him!”
Appiah travels to Minsk, Belarus for the second European Games, organised by the European Olympic Council and set as an Olympic Games just for European countries.
The athletics event is slightly different with DNA (Dynamic New Athletics) making its debut.
The knockout tournament will take place from Sunday to Friday 28th with four competition days and two rest days.
Each team will feature up to 15 athletes and 6 reserves. There will be 30 DNA medals up for grabs in Minsk: gold, silver and bronze for the best team overall, and gold, silver and bronze for the best individual athletes in each of the nine disciplines.
“It’s different for me going to compete in these championships” admitted Appiah, “especially as I have to go with the seniors.”
“I’m friendly with the guys on the junior’s and the under-23 team, but the seniors, that’s just where I kind have to be humble and not act up” laughed Appiah.
“It is really special, especially as people are heading over to Minsk to qualify for the Olympic Games also, if god does me good and I can jump well” smiled Appiah.
Appiah will be part of the Irish team that parades in the opening ceremony in the famous Dinamo Stadium on Friday evening.
Melvin Appiah was speaking at the launch of the Longford A.C fundraising event more details here