European 3,000m Winner is Welcomed Home to Cork

(by Dick Hogan, The Examiner).  And now for the Olympic Games!  Mark Carroll, the 28-year-old European indoor athletics champion who took gold at the 3,000-metre event in Ghent, Belgium, at the weekend, returned to Cork today to be greeted by his family and friends, as well as the Lord Mayor, Mr Damien Wallace.  On his arrival at the airport together with Sonia O’Sullivan, Carroll vowed that he would do everything in his power to bring further honours to the city at the forthcoming Olympic Games in Sydney.  Carroll has suffered from a stress fracture of the shin bone, and has been dogged by other injuries which prevented him from participating in the last Olympic Games at Atlanta.  A large crowd, including his mother, Ann, and his father, John, gathered to meet him at Cork Airport. Mrs Carroll said she had been watching her son competing from the age of eight, when he won his first medal.  His former coach, Brother John Dooley of the North Monastery school, was in Ghent to see him win. His mother said that if he continued to run as he did at the weekend, she was more than confident that he would be successful in the Sydney Games.  Overjoyed at the reception, the runner said: “I still can’t believe it. I waited so long for this and I’ve had so many injuries over the years that it’s too good to be true.  “But I’m not going to allow this go to my head, I’m hoping to compete in the 5,000m event in Sydney and I will do everything I can to be ready.”  (Photo shows Mark being greeted by his mother, Ann).