Speed skater Niall Treacy eyeing up Beijing battle with brother Farrell after booking Winter Olympic bow

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Treacy, 21, is financially supported by a partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid
Treacy, 21, is financially supported by a partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid

As the youngest member of a sports-mad family, Niall Treacy spent his youth chasing his older brothers – now he could be lining up alongside one of them on the Olympic start line in Beijing, writes Paul Eddison.

Four years after Farrell Treacy represented Team GB in short track speed skating at the Olympics in PyeongChang, 21-year-old younger sibling Niall has matched him and the pair will be both be competing in the 1000m in China in February after being announced as part of a three-strong team.

Depending on heat draws, that could mean Niall’s Olympic debut is a family affair and for someone who has been in pursuit of his brothers since he was first allowed on the ice at the age of eight, that will not be a problem.

The younger Treacy, from Henley-in-Arden, explained: “We’ve grown up in a house of four boys so there’s always been the competitive nature. We were always into sport, into football, tennis, we were a sporty family growing up. The good thing about being the youngest is you know what you have to chase, you just have to chase your brothers.

“There will be 30 other guys who we’ll be racing in the 1000m so we don’t know if I’ll be drawn against Farrell in the first round.

“If we race it right we could race each other. It’s pretty insane to think about it but at that point, you want him to do as well as he can do, but you’re also there for yourself. You just hope that he can go as far as he can, and I can go as far as I can and if we can race against each other, then we race against each other and you both understand that.

“There will be a slight thing in your head, subconsciously you’ll know it’s your brother so ‘don’t kill him’. But everything happens so quickly in short track. If I was to race him and he was to overtake me, it happens so quickly that I probably wouldn’t realise it’s him.

“My mum hates watching us race normally, let alone if we were racing each other, because she thinks there’s too much drama and she gets too nervous. But she can’t stand the thought of us racing each other. She despises it.”

In 2018, Treacy was still finishing off his A-Levels when PyeongChang was happening, so could not get out to Korea to cheer on Farrell.

Shortly afterwards, he moved up to Nottingham to start training full-time, continuing a journey that will take him to the Chinese capital in February.

But while his brother might be his greatest inspiration, it is an Olympian from another sport who has shown the way more recently.

Weightlifter Emily Campbell, who won silver in Tokyo this summer, trains at the High Performance Zone at the University of Nottingham, where Treacy is based.

And he admits that seeing her success has driven him on to try to achieve similar.

“We do gym sessions at the University of Nottingham where Emily Campbell is. I got to watch her in Tokyo, we were getting ready to go to a training session, we were cycling there so had all our kit on and helmets on waiting for her to do her lift,” added Treacy, who is financially supported by a partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid.

“We didn’t want to rush her but we needed her to hurry up so we could get to training! Once we’d seen her do her lift and get her medal, we were so proud.

“It’s so insane to see her at training. It’s hard to get the perspective of different sports and to really understand how incredible it is, what she’s doing and the weights she’s lifting.

“When we do some of the lifts, not full Olympic lifts because we don’t have the arms, but we’re lifting a fraction of it, she’s just insane and there’s a reason why she’s an Olympic medallist.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more

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