My name is Israel Olatunde. I’m a 19 year old Irish international sprinter. I’m from Dundalk, Co.Louth. I started athletics through my secondary school when I was 12. Back then, I was taking football more seriously. But over time, I began to see that I had more natural ability in athletics and I gravitated more towards it. I joined my first athletics club, Dundealgan AC, when I was 15. We trained in parks and sports halls as we didn’t have access to a running track. But it made no difference to us because we were enjoying it and many others were in the same position as us.
I won my first All Ireland medal that same year when I was 15. The next year, I represented Ireland internationally for the first time. Since then I’ve gone on to break multiple National Records in the 60 and 100m events and I’ve represented Ireland at European and World Championships at the U18, U20 and Senior levels. I’m currently the second fastest Irishman in history over 60m and I’m one of the top ranked athletes in Europe and the world in the event. Having the support of my family, community and country is something I don't take for granted.
At heart I’m an artist. And I try to bring that into my sport, even though it may not always be pretty. Every training session, every race, every step, everything I do, is a part of my creation. I want to be able to look back and have created something worthwhile. My faith gives me a clearer understanding of different things. I believe it’s helped me a lot as a person and specifically as an athlete. Knowing that someone greater than me is in control, gives me a certain freedom that allows me to truly express myself through my sport.