Sport Scholarship athlete Dean O’Mahony who is part of Pat Rockett Karate & Kickboxing Academy talks sport and how he balances sport and his business studies at WIT
Every academic year, WIT provides up to 60 Sports Scholarship Awards distributed between three awarding categories which reflect the sporting level a student is competing at within their sporting discipline: Elite, Sport Scholarship & Emerging Talent. Apply at http://www.wit.ie/vikingsportscholarship
Name: Dean O’ Mahony
Sport: Sport Karate
Club: Pat Rockett Karate & Kickboxing Academy
Course: Bachelor of Business (Hons) level 8
Highest Achievements to date?
WUKO World Title
8-time WUKF medallist
2-time ONAKAI (NGB) National Champion
9 National titles
4th Dan Shotokan Black Belt
What is your favourite memory from your sporting career so far?
Becoming the youngest World Gold medallist from any organisation in the 2nd WUKO World Championship, Jeselo, Italy 2008.
What is your personal aim this year?
My aim this year is to compete in my first Senior European and World Championships (EKF & WKF) in Baku, Azerbaijan (March) and Dubai, UAE (November). Along with winning National and international titles in both Under 21 and Senior events -67kg.
Who was your sporting idol growing up?
Rafael Aghayev – 5-time World and 11-time European Champion
How do you prepare for each event?
The night before, I gather all my gear for the event. I look at the draw for the event to see whether I will be Blue or Red. This aids me in visualisation which I practise the day before and day of competition. Training camps before international competitions proceed 5/6 weeks prior to the event, where I will have a mix of predominantly skill-based training, as well as, strength & conditioning. The day of the fight I prefer to have my own space to unwind while listening to music.
What advice would you give to Athletes wanting to improve?
Keep track of your progress. Plan on what you want to achieve and what you want to improve on and focus on that. For young athletes especially, they must enjoy what they are doing. If they aren’t enjoying it, it will be difficult to improve.
What do you do to relax/unwind?
Day-to-day, my schedule can be hectic. Following training, college, study and work, I like to listen to podcasts or music. Before I go to sleep, I read a mixture of sports psychology books or athlete autobiographies.
How do you balance work/college/training?
I have a fairly regimented schedule. The beginning of First year I found it very tough to balance training with college while working. However, my schedule now is training before college (7am or 8am depending on timetable for college), followed by my lectures in college with study hours, my shifts in work begin at 5pm until 9pm 3 days a week and one weekend day 2-9pm. On the days I don’t have work I train in the evenings up to 2 hours. It can be challenging but the balance is right for me.
What was the best advise you were ever given?
The best advice I received was from my coach, Pat Rockett. He always reminds me to forget about what everybody else is doing and concentrate on what is in my control. My training, my diet, my mental health. Once we control ourselves, we will perform to the best of our abilities.
Do you get nervous before big races/competitions and if so how do you deal with it?
Nerves are part and parcel of all sports. I do get nervous before big competitions. I have been working with Sean for the Viking Sports office on learning what works for me to control those nerves. I use breathing techniques and positive affirmations to keep them at a level that I can control. If you don’t control your nerves, they will control you.
About the Sports Scholarship Programme at WIT
Offers an athlete-led development programme aimed at supporting the overall development of high performance athletes in a wide range of sports. The programme gives talented athletes the opportunity to develop their sporting and academic career by offering a network of support services and expertise which is tailored around the specific needs of each individual athlete.