Daegu 2011 – An Armchair Interpretation of the Plight of Two Underachieving Nations in Track and Field


A few days before the IAAF World Athletics Championship in Daegu commenced, the president of Korea Lee Myung Bak proudly declared that the championships would inspire Koreans to develop their abilities in this area. But after only five days, Yonhap News declared that Korea is in danger of getting shut out after missing so many goals with their athletes being forced to watch from the sidelines as headline after headline was created by the international community. Did something go wrong, or should they have just not have been so excited? Perhaps they should have spoken to Ireland beforehand.

Ireland and Korea are not renowned for their prowess in track and field. Daegu 2011 is another good example of this. This isn’t an attempt to disparage the efforts of those who have put their heart and soul into competing in the event – my own efforts pale in comparison to theirs – but, as the title would suggest, an armchair analysis of the whole rigmarole.

Being from Ireland I’m no stranger to national underachievement at the international level. Many Irish would agree that we are the country that almost did everything, but then just weren’t good enough. I’d argue that it suits our personality – defeat is something we’re used to and we prefer to suffer in that regard, as opposed to winning because we aren’t sure what to do with success. The recession in Ireland at the moment and reason it happened are a good example of this.

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