Olivia targets Olympic medal

Olivia Mehaffey (left) and team partner Kevin Le Blanc practising at the Youth Olympics venue in China.
Olivia Mehaffey (left) and team partner Kevin Le Blanc practising at the Youth Olympics venue in China.

Banbridge High School girl Olivia Mehaffey isn’t ruling out her chances of bringing home a medal from this week’s Youth Olympic Games.

She’s in Nanjing, China ready to become the first Irish female golfer to take part in the Olympics.

The 16 year-old begins the individual event today (Tuesday), up against 31 other top golfers from around the world.

It climaxes on Thursday with the final of three rounds and Olivia will be aiming to be amongst the leaders.

“It’s a privilege to be the first girl to represent Ireland and it’ll be great to get over there,” she told the ‘LEADER’ before boarding the plane.

“We’re going over for eight days in Hong Kong to acclimatise first and then we fly in to China and start into two practice rounds before the two separate 54 hole tournaments.

“After the singles event, we have a two-day break and then into in team event.

“It consists of 18 holes foursomes, 18 holes fourball and 18 hole stroke-play.”

In the team tournament, Olivia will join up with the 2014 Junior Open Champion Kevin Le Blanc. The 15 year-old north Dublin lad will be buoyed by the biggest win of his career earlier in the summer.

The team event begins on Sunday, ending next Tuesday, all of the rounds of both events taking place at Zhongshan International Golf Club.

In either the singles or the team tournament, Olivia is hoping she can claim a place on the podium.

“Without having any expectations, I’d love to win a medal,” she said. “Of course everyone who goes out would love to get one. I may as well aim high now that I’ve got there but I just want to go and play my golf and see where it takes me.”

For the local girl, it’s a once in a lifetime trip and regardless of performance, it’ll be a week to savour.

“We’re going over with all 16 competitors in the Ireland team for all the sports so it’ll be good craic being with them all,” she said.

“I’ve never been to China but I know a few people who have. They all say it’s very different so it’ll be great to experience that change of culture.

“I’ve looked up the course and it looks very impressive and very scenic so I can’t wait to get playing on it.”

All the best to Olivia from all at the Leader.