ONE of Mid-Ulster’s most enduring sports personalities Patsy Forbes considers it “a great honour” for him to have been nominated to carry the Olympic Torch.
Patsy, who is due to compete for Ireland at the World Masters Indoor Championships in Finland, will complete his relay leg at Caledon on June 7.
The 70-year-old Ardboe man has been a well known and popular figure in sporting, community and business circles for many years.
“I started boxing for the Cookstown and Coalisland clubs when I was in my teens,” he recalled.
He has also enjoyed a life-long passion for Gaelic games having played for the Ardboe Club at minor level before representing Tyrone seniors for over 10 years. He also managed and trained Tyrone as well as the Derry U21 side.
Rugby is another sport to which Patsy has devoted many hours of his time.
The father-of-three, who was nominated for the relay by his niece Briege Quinn, has been an enthusiastic fund-raiser helping to raising thousands for sporting and community organisations down the decades.
In the last 15 years he has concentrated on athletics and is looking forward to running in the 60 metre race at the Masters’ next month.
Patsy is the current holder of the Irish Masters record over 60m indoor and 100m outdoor. He has also amassed more than 20 national medals over 100m and 200m as well as British Open medals for 60m, 100m and 200m.
He has numerous business interests and until recently he was chairman of the Northern Ireland Manufacturers’ Furniture Group. He has been active in various cross community groups and organisations throughout his life.
In recent weeks he has been focusing on the build-up to the indoor championships in Finland in just over a week’s time.
He trains regularly on the track at Meadowbank Recreation Centre in Magherafelt with long-time training partner Dessie Ryan and, occasionally, under the guidance of son Brian, who is a former international sprinter. Dessie, who is also in his 70s, is an Irish and British champion over the sprints.
He praised the work of Barrie Holmes, of the Mid-Ulster Athletic Club, for his dedication to promoting the sport in the area.
A niggling calf injury is Patsy’s only cause for concern heading towards the World championships, but it shouldn’t hamper him during his short run with the Olympic Torch in June.