Two-time National Indoor Champion and World Relay silver medalist Kate Doherty was named an ambassador for the upcoming DSD Games - the first ever games to take place at the new DSD multi-sport campus at Rathfarnham on Sunday 18th June.
It's a fitting achievement for the Olympic prospect, whose athletics training started with the host club, Dundrum South Dublin AC (DSDAC), one of Ireland’s largest athletics clubs.
The 26-year-old sat down to chat with us about the upcoming games, her athletic journey and her training towards qualifying for the Olympics.
DSD Games 18th June - already attracting some real quality athletes such as Joan Healy, Lucy Sleeman, Sarah Leahy and our own Mollie O'Reilly. Word must be out that DSD new track is FAST! Supported by @dlrcc pic.twitter.com/L1oVOVNZ3W
— Dundrum South Dublin AC (@DSDAC) May 23, 2023
Kate’s journey saw her try many sports before finding athletics: “Growing up, I was always involved in sports. I played hockey, basketball, sailing, golf, tennis, karate... I think that's it, yeah. And I picked up padel last year, so that's a new one!” laughs Kate.
Kate started participating in athletics in secondary school, her first event being hurdles. In her first year, she competed in the East Leinster Schools for the 75m Hurdles. The following year, she competed again in the hurdle races and the 100m sprint, and managed to win the Junior girls hurdles race to progress onto the Leinster Schools Championships.
DSD coach Eddie McDonough took note of Kate’s natural athletic talent at the championships, and approached her and her mom to recruit her to join the athletics club. By 5th year, she was competing at Junior All Ireland Level.
Kate went on to study Biomedical Engineering at Trinity College and continued to climb the athletic ranks. She mentioned that while it was sometimes difficult to juggle her demanding studies and training, she managed to find a healthy balance and enjoyed her study-train routine.
Trinity student, Kate Doherty has been selected to compete at the upcoming World Athletics Relays next month! 👏
Best of luck from all of us at Trinity! 🏃♀️
Read more here: https://t.co/VQKYYkQch1#WomenInSport #TrinitySport #InspiringGenerations pic.twitter.com/SJnyAGDFwk
— Trinity College Dublin (@tcddublin) April 24, 2021
In 2019, she was in the semi-finals for the 100m at the European U23 Championships and became the national indoor 60m hurdles and 100m sprint champion. She also became a member of Team Irelands 4x100m relay in 2020/21.
One of her favourite sporting memories was winning the silver medal for the 4x200m relay at the World Relays in 2021, where they also set a new national record of 1:35.93.
The Ireland women's relay team, from left, Aoife Lynch, Kate Doherty, Sarah Quinn and Sophie Becker celebrate after finishing second in their 4x200 metre final during the IAAF World Athletics Relays in Poland!https://t.co/XyZzHXda1J pic.twitter.com/F3WrFl0nGM
— sportsfile (@sportsfile) May 2, 2021
After she graduated with her masters from Trinity in 2021, she decided to pursue athletics full-time. Her coach in Dublin put her contact with a coach in Austin, USA, who is a hurdle specialist and she decided to move to the States.
Kate recalls that it was hard to leave her family behind but moving to the States would be the best way for her to become a pro athlete: "In Ireland, because everyone's self-funded a lot of the time, you have to work a nine to five and then you have to go training. So training is not your main thing. You're always going to be splitting yourself between work and training."
"There's a lot more pro athletes in the States where they literally just train. That is their life. And that's what I'm trying to do."
The 2023 season has been promising for the young athlete so far. She won the 60m hurdles at the National Indoor Championships in Dublin, represented Ireland in the 60m hurdles indoor event at the DNA competition in Glasglow, and is currently training towards Nationals. While she needs to meet a certain time to qualify for the Olympics, Kate explained how she prefers to focus on bettering herself and enjoying the race at hand.
"I think is more beneficial for me to not just focus on having to run a specific time today - just enjoy the race, enjoy racing, enjoy the whole day of it, and get what you want out of your race. If i focused too much on time, and if I didn't run the time I set out to, I'm going to feel terrible."
"You have to enjoy everything, and you have to take a positive from each race."
Olympian @sarahlavin_ takes the 60m hurdles title at the 2022 @irishlifehealth National Indoor Championships 🤩What a race!!@sarahlavin_ @EmeraldAC 8:12
Kate Doherty @DSDAC 8:27
@LillyAnnOHora @dooneenac 8:27https://t.co/raTXnSBffR pic.twitter.com/kFyPhYtdc8
— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) February 26, 2022
For any athlete, heading to the Olympics is a dream come true. Kate is set on representing her country in Paris next year.
"It would be a dream come true for me as well. It's what I'm trying to get to. So all my hard work, that would be worth it. It's still worth it anyway, but it would just be more."
With her eyes set on the Olympics, Kate is fiercely dedicated to her training at present, and explained how the upcoming DSD Games will also be a great chance for her and other athletes to measure progress whilst having fun:
"It's a really nice track. I've done some training sessions up there and I think it's going to be a really good and fast track for racing. Hopefully we'll see a good few PBS and some ranking points for athletes at the event."
"Athletes will also be treated as the VIP's, so we're going to make the whole day a great experience for the athletes and spectators."
This will be DSDAC's first ever Athletics Ireland licensed Track & Field competition event for athletes aged 16 and upwards. The DSD Games 2023 aims to celebrate the opening of the Club's new World Athletics certified 400m track on the junction of Kilmashogue Lane and Tibradden Road.
— Musco Lighting (@MuscoLighting) February 8, 2023
As she reflects on her athletic journey, Kate expresses how she continues to be a fierce advocate for women participating in sports: "I just love the sport so much now that I couldn't see myself ever not doing it until I'm retired."
"I think I am who I am today because I did so much sport."
"I would encourage anyone to get involved in sport. And even if you're having kind of a low season or you're not enjoying it as much, find something in it that you enjoy or switch sports because you might be suited to something else and you might enjoy it more. You don't have to be highly competitive in it, but once you keep it up and start to enjoy it, it will make a difference in your life."