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The Irish Sprint Coach Behind Puerto Rico's 100m Hurdles Gold Medal

The Irish Sprint Coach Behind Puerto Rico's 100m Hurdles Gold Medal
By Jonathan Byrne Updated

From the Ballyboden St Enda's backroom team to coaching a Puerto Rican to Olympic gold. It's an incredible transition. 

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn might not be a household name in Ireland, but she pulled off a monumental win in the 100m hurdles overnight.

The Puerto Rican managed to hold off world-record holder Kendra Harrison of the U.S. to win in a time of 12.37 seconds.

The country of Puerto Rico will have a hero's welcome for Camacho-Quinn, as she's won only their second gold medal in the history of the Olympic games.

It was a redemptive victory for the 24-year-old, who had a disappointing Rio 2016 campaign. But it wasn't without some help from her athletic ties in Ireland.

Sprint coach John Coghlan was credited after the victory. "I'm ready to go see him. I feel like he is gonna cry," Camacho-Quinn told David Gillick and RTÉ Sport.

"This has been an emotional, like, 8 months we've been together. But it all worked together, he's my dawg," she said after her gold medal performance.

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Coach John Coghlan studied at UL before learning under the tutelage of legendary coach Loren Seagrave over in Atlanta in the U.S. It was there he witnessed the likes of Pauline Davis-Thompson train for an Olympics.

While his roots were in athletics, Coghlan was always keen to develop speed and fitness in a team environment. That was evident with his work as a strength and conditioning coach with various GAA sides.

Between 2006 and 2013, Coghlan trained Dublin's hurling teams at senior, U-21 and minor level. He's also been involved with Meath football setups at a number of levels for the past decade.

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His impressive team resume includes Senior Football Championship titles, Leintser minor hurlings titles and an All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship with Ballyboden St Enda's.

But since his valuable experience in Atlanta, Coghlan has been an athletics sprint coach at heart, dating all the way back to 2003.

Coghlan has been a key figure in the Irish Athletics scene, including a role as Paul Hession's trainer before London 2012. Hession is the Irish record holder for the men's 100m and 200m.

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During Ballyboden's All-Ireland winning season in 2015/2016, Coghlan was based out of China. He had signed a contract to coach their sprinters, hurdlers and relay teams out of the city of Qingdao.

In China, Coghlan worked closely with sprinter Su Bingtian, who was the first Asian man to run a sub-10 second 100 metres.

His work with Irish athletes over the years led him to manage a slew of pre-competition camps in the likes of South Africa, America, Spain and Portugal.

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It's through his ongoing work with the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, that he crossed paths with Camacho-Quinn and helped her to gold.

Camacho-Quinn's current agent, Paul Doyle, was one of the figures Coghlan learnt under back in Atlanta in the early 2000s.

So the headlines might read of a Puerto Rico victory in the 100m hurdles, but it was an Irish man that helped her get over the line.

See Also: Emotion Spills Over For History-Making Phil Healy In Tokyo

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