Local girl Kate Derwin had two reasons to celebrate this week, after coming home from the European Pony Jumping Championships in Hungary with a gold and silver medal.
The 15-year-old Athlone student secured an individual silver medal on Irish Connemara superstar pony Cul Ban Mistress, while the Irish Pony Show jumping team achieved gold-medal success.
It was a proud moment for Kate as she climbed the podium to receive her medals and sing ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’.
Speaking on Tuesday this week, Kate expressed her joy at bringing home two medals.
“I am delighted,” a beaming Kate said. “I have been riding since I was very young, and my dream has always been to win a medal. To come home with a gold and silver is life-changing for me really.”
Standing outside Derwin’s Auburn Equestrian Centre off the Dublin Road in Athlone, Kate reflected on the long road of sacrifice and dedication which has led her to this recent triumph.
“This is where it all started for me, first of all down here with Tanya, and I have loved it,” she said. “It is a full-time job with long hours, you’re always working, when the pony gets sick you are up with him all hours of the night, but when you love what you are doing it makes it a lot easier.”
Kate added that she could not have achieved what she has without the strong support base she enjoys.
“The support I have down here is brilliant really, from the lads working in the yard to Tanya and the rest of the team,” she said. “My entire family have been so supportive as well, and so has everyone at my school, Our Lady’s Bower, so I just want to thank all of them for everything.”