Donegal Masters’ athlete, octogenarian Hugh Gallagher, reached a major milestone in his athletic career last weekend at the National Indoor Masters’ Athletics Championship in Athlone.
Hugh, from Creevy, Carrigart, and who is 88, captured his 150th athletic gold medal when he won three gold medals at the championship in the V11 category, over 85s. He won medals in the shot putt, 60 metres and the long jump.
Hugh is the holder of 26 world gold, two world silver and two world bronze, 23 European gold, three European silver and a host of Irish, British, Scottish and Welsh national titles in various disciplines over the last five decades. He puts his success down to clean living and a healthy lifestyle.
“I never drank or smoked and I train every day and thank God I have always enjoyed good health and avoided any serious injuries,” said Hugh, who went on to add that he had received a great reception and support from the large crowd packed into the new Indoor Arena, at the Athone IT, during his 60 metre run.
This was even mentioned in the National Indoor Masters’ Championship website. “One of the biggest cheers of the day was for Donegal’s Hugh Gallagher,” stated the website, in its report on the championship.
“I have been competing in Masters’ athletics for over 50 years and last weekend’s medal brought my total gold medal haul to 150. I have also won numerous silver and bronze medals at championships both at home here in Ireland and in Britian and right across Europe.
“I have enjoyed every minute of it and I have really enjoy competing and taking part and I have made many great friends both at home here and abroad down the years. I also receive great support from my family.”
And Hugh is not finished yet. He turns 89 in August and has his sights firmly set on this summer’s National Outdoor championships in Tullamore.
“If God spares me, I’ll be in Tullamore and I also hope to compete in this year’s Donegal Athletics championship finals.”
Hugh’s success and his 150 gold medals is a truly remarkable achievement and must be something that is most definitely a Donegal record if not a national record.
But the medals apart to be still competing at such a high level in National championships Hugh is a great ambassador for sport and his native Donegal. But most of all he is an example to all sportspeople, both young and old.