Tokyo 2020: Marathon runner Sinead Diver will become Australia's oldest-ever Olympian at age 44

Irish-born Sinead Diver, 44, will compete in the marathon for Australia at this summer's Olympics
Irish-born Sinead Diver, 44, will compete in the marathon for Australia at this summer's Olympics

For proof that Olympic dreams can be realised later in life, one need only look at the Australian marathon team for this summer's Tokyo Games.

The squad's three female members boast a combined age of 118 with the eldest, Sinead Diver, set to make her Olympic debut at 44.

Diver's achievement is certainly remarkable.

The Irish-born runner is poised to become Australia's oldest ever Olympic competitor.

However, she is understandably determined to ensure that coverage of her exploits in Japan centres not on her age but her prowess as a distance runner.

"I find it extremely frustrating that a lot of the media attention I get is mainly focused on my age," said Diver, who missed out on the Rio Games in 2016 through injury.

"I know, in some ways, it's meant to be complimentary - not a lot of athletes continue to find success in their forties.

"But I've been running for a relatively short period of time, so it's a very different scenario for me. Succeeding at any age is all about your mindset."

Keen to get in shape post-pregnancy, Diver took up running in her thirties.

But what started as a recreational activity soon became something much more, with a win at the 2018 Melbourne Marathon an indicator of her upward trajectory.

She has also finished seventh and eighth at the last two London Marathons with times of two hours twenty four minutes 11 seconds in 2019 and 2:27:07 last year.

And now, with Tokyo on the horizon, Diver is ranked inside Australia's top eight of all time alongside fellow team members Lisa Weightman, 42, and 32-year-old Ellie Pashley.

While Diver will make her Olympic bow in Sapporo on 7 August, Weightman will be competing at the Games for a fourth time, following in the footsteps of Australian marathon greats Steve Moneghetti and Lisa Ondieki, who won silver at Seoul 1988.

"I am extremely proud to have created this opportunity and with everything on my plate, with full-time work, a mum in lockdown and an athlete, I've certainly built up the resilience I need to run my best in Sapporo," said Weightman, who finished 31st in 2016.

Australia's six-strong marathon team is rounded out by Brett Robinson and Liam Adams, both of whom will become two-time Olympians, and debutant Jack Rayner.

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