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Image / Living / Culture

Tokyo 2020: When the Irish Olympic team are competing and how to watch them


by Sarah Finnan
23rd Jul 2021

@team_ireland_olympic on Instagram

The Olympic games are kicking off over in Tokyo today and there are plenty of team Ireland competitors to look out for

Pushed out from last year amid ongoing Covid-19 concerns, there have been mixed feelings over this year’s event but it’s all systems go as competitors slowly descend upon the Japanese capital. 

One of the summer’s most hotly-anticipated sporting events, the games draw worldwide attention anytime they’re on with millions of spectators expected to tune in over the competition’s two-week run. 

So, what do you need to know ahead of time? We’ve compiled a list of key dates and info for you, so all there’s left to do now is make sure the fridge is packed full of snacks to keep you going. 

Opening ceremony 

The Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony takes place today, Friday, July 23rd starting at 8 pm local time. Japan is eight hours ahead of us which means that things will kick off at 12-noon Irish time. As is usually the case, most sports get underway the next day, however archery, equestrian, rowing and shooting will all begin on Friday while softball and baseball begin today. 

Where to watch

Already anticipating an influx of interest in watching the games, RTÉ Sport has announced a comprehensive Olympic coverage across all mediums including TV, radio and online. The first time that the national broadcaster has secured a coveted seat reporting from inside the Olympic Games venue, producers confirmed that they’re “geared up to report on the largest-ever Irish Olympic team of 116 Team Ireland athletes”. 

RTÉ2 will be the home of Tokyo 2020 on TV this year with all of the content also to be made available to viewers on the RTÉ Player. RTÉ Radio 1 will have updates and reports throughout the day starting with a full catch-up on all events over on Morning Ireland as well as the live event action reporting in real-time from RTÉ’s very own dedicated radio studio in the Tokyo Olympic Broadcast Centre.

This will continue to link to any medal events that happen throughout the day on Claire Byrne; the News At One; The Ray D’Arcy Show and Drivetime.

RTÉ 2FM Game On will wrap up the day’s news, reports and action from the heart of the Games. At weekends, significant events will be broadcast live in the morning programme schedule. Both Saturday and Sunday Sport will have comprehensive coverage along with their usual GAA Championship action and all the other sport.

The broadcaster will also have 24-hour coverage of the games online including athlete reactions, live blogs, team profiles and exclusive interviews/analysis.

Key dates 

Athletics

The athletics events kick off in week two of the games with competitions running from Friday, July 30th to Sunday, August 8th.  27 Irish athletes will compete in athletic events over in Tokyo. Exact times are yet to be confirmed.

Boxing

Boxing gets underway from July 24th with Aoife O’Rourke, Michaela Walsh and Kellie Harrington amongst those hoping to take a medal home with them. All times listed are Irish time.

Saturday, July 24, 4am
Men’s Featherweight: Kurt Walker v Jose Quiles Brotons (Spain)

Sunday, July 25, 12.45 pm
Men’s Light Heavyweight: Emmett Brennan v Dilshodbek Ruzmetov (Uzbekistan)

Monday, July 26,
4am Men’s Flyweight: Brendan Irvine v Carlo Paalam (Philippines)
6.30am Women’s Featherweight: Michaela Walsh v TBD

Tuesday, July 27 3.30am
Men’s Welterweight: Aidan Walsh v TBD

July 28, 10.15am
Women’s Middleweight: Aoife O’Rourke v Li Qian (China)

Friday, July 30, 3am
Women’s Lightweight: Kellie Harrington v TBD

Diving 

Oliver Dingley and Tanya Watson lead the Irish divers at this year’s games with competition taking place in the purpose-built aquatics centre from August 2nd. All times listed are Irish time.

Monday, August 2, 7am
Men’s Three Metre Springboard (Ollie Dingley)

Wednesday, August 4, 7am
Women’s 10 Metre Platform (Tanya Watson)

Golf

The men’s golf event is up first with both Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy gearing up for the competition on July 29th. Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow won’t be far behind with the women’s event taking place on August 4th. All times listed are Irish time.

Wednesday, July 28, 11.30pm
Men’s Golf begins (finishes August 1)

Wednesday, August 3, 11.45pm
Women’s Golf begins (finishes August 7)

Gymnastics

Gymnastics events will run from July 24th to August 3rd with Irish gymnasts Megan Ryan and Rhys McClenaghan both in the running. All times listed are Irish time.

Saturday, July 24 2am
Men’s Artistic Gymnastics qualification (Rhys McClenaghan)

Sunday, July 25, 2am
Women’s Artistic Gymnastics qualification (Megan Ryan)

Hockey 

Star goalie Ayeisha McFerran and the Hockey Ireland team will make their Olympic debut against South Africa on July 24th before facing off against their 2018 World Cup final opposition, The Netherlands. All times listed are Irish time.

Saturday, July 24 1.15pm 
Ireland v South Africa

Monday July 26, 2am
Netherlands v Ireland

Wednesday, July 28, 4.15am
Germany v Ireland

Friday, July 30 3.45am
Ireland v India

Saturday, July 31 12.45pm
Ireland v Great Britain

Rowing

80 nations will be competing in the Olympic rowing regatta which will start on July 23rd at the Sea Forest Waterway on Tokyo Bay. All times listed are Irish time.

Friday, July 23
01:40 W1x Sanita
02:40 M2x Ronan & Phil

Saturday, July 24
02:10 W2- Monika & Aileen
02:50 LW2x Aoife & Margaret
03:30 LM2x Fintan & Paul
04:00 W4- Aifric, Eimear, Emily & Fiona

Rugby Sevens

Up there as one of the most talked-about events of the games, this is the first time that Ireland will field a rugby team in the games. Competing in Pool C, the Irish squad will face South Africa, the USA and Kenya with the first match set for July 26th. All times listed are Irish time.

Monday, July 26
3am Ireland v South Africa
10.30am USA v Ireland

Tuesday, July 27
3am Ireland v Kenya

Swimming 

Nine Irish swimmers have headed over to Tokyo to compete in the games which will also be held at the newly-finished aquatics centre from July 24th. All times listed are Irish time.

Saturday, July 24
11.30am Women’s 100 Metre Butterfly Heat 2 (Ellen Walshe)
12.30pm Men’s 100 Metre Breaststroke Heat 4 (Darragh Greene)

Sunday, July 25
11am Women’s 100 Metre Backstroke Heat 3 (Danielle Hill)
11.45amWomen’s 100 Metre Breaststroke Heat 5 (Mona McSharry)

Monday, July 26
11.20am Men’s 200 Metre Butterfly Heat 2 (Brendan Hyland)
11.45am Women’s 200 Metre Individual Medley Heat 4 (Ellen Walshe)

Wednesday, July 27
11.50am Men’s 200 Metre Breaststroke Heat 5 (Darragh Greene)
12pm Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Heat 2 (Team Ireland)
11.30am Men’s 200 Metre Freestyle Heat 1 (Daniel Wiffin)

Judo

Wednesday, July 28, 3.30am
Women’s 70kg: Megan Fletcher v Micheala Polleres (Austria)

Thursday, July 29 3.30am
Men’s 100kg: Ben Fletcher v Mukhammadkarim Khurramov (Uzbekistan)

Taekwondo

Saturday, July 24, 4.15am
Jack Woolley v Lucas Lautaro Guzman (Argentina)

Ireland is also being represented in track cycling, badminton, shooting, equestrian, road cycling, sailing, triathlon and modern pentathlon, however, we’re still waiting for confirmation on specific times. Visit Team Ireland’s official Olympic schedule for the most up-to-date information, just remember that the times will be 8 hours ahead, so you’ll have to backdate all times by eight hours.

Closing ceremony

Due to run for just over two weeks, the closing ceremony is set for Sunday, August 8th at 8 pm (12-noon Irish time). 

The above is just a taste of what to expect, but you can find out more about each of the individual athletes and the sports they’re competing in by checking out their athlete profiles here.

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