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Friday 9 December 2016

'No special treatment for Team Ireland stars', says chief

Kevin Kilty
Kevin Kilty

It's been a tough week for Team Ireland, but it would take more than a scandal over a failed doping test to dampen the mood at their Olympic Village base.

Chef de Mission Kevin Kilty said the camaraderie among the 77-strong team was second to none - and a great part of this was down to how each athlete is treated.

There's no favouritism, with stars such as Katie Taylor and Padraig Harrington treated the same as everyone else. Kilty said all of the country's stars travelled commercially.

"Katie Taylor and every other athlete got here the same way everyone else did," he said.

"We take economy flights and block-booked them over a year ago.

Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor

"There's no favouritism. Everyone who's here deserves to be here, and deserves the same level of respect."

Perfect

Kilty said Taylor was the perfect example for every Irish athlete at the complex.

"She's what an Olympian and gold medallist is all about. She's calm, respectful and she has time for absolutely everyone, she's very open," he said.

The facilities in the Olympic Village have drawn criticism from several competing countries.

However, Kilty said it's only the tiny things that are ever an issue for the Irish camp - they're happy in their surroundings, unlike the US basketball team who have been staying on a yacht, and the Australians, who have made numerous complaints.

Tricolours draped around the Irish part of the camp ensure no one is in any doubt about where Team Ireland can be found.

The banter is flowing too, as can be seen in tweets from boxer Michael Conlan and others poking fun at golfer Rory McIlroy for not travelling to Rio due to his fears over zika.

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