Ireland has become the newest member of the International Luge Federation after the country’s membership was approved by the governing body.
Ireland’s membership was accepted during the 68th Congress of the International Luge Federation, which took place virtually for the first time due to the ongoing global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Ireland becomes the 53rd country to become a member of the International Luge Federation.
Ireland’s admittance into the FIL was met with great enthusiasm by luge athlete Elsa Desmond, who announced that she will begin sliding for the nation. In a post on Instagram, Desmond stated, “I am beyond excited to be able to officially announce that I will now be racing for Ireland! Thank you so much to everyone who has helped make this possible! I hope I can make you proud on the ice!”
Desmond originally started luge as an athlete representing the United Kingdom. She has yet to officially start in a World Cup race, but she does have multiple Nations Cup starts under her belt. She also placed 10th at the 7th FIL U23 World Championships, which were held in tandem with the 48th FIL World Championships, where she finished ranked 30th.
It’s unclear if Desmond will race for Ireland on the FIL artificial track circuit this year, but she did indicate in her Instagram post that she is targeting qualification for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. She will be required to enter World Cup races in either the 2020-2021 season, or the 2021-2022 season in order to stand a chance at Olympic qualification. Her prior ranking as an athlete for the United Kingdom also suggests that she will have to attend the 2021 International Training Week at the Olympic track in order to meet the full requirements for Olympic qualification.
Desmond’s first opportunity to represent Ireland will come soon, with the 2020-2021 FIL World Cup season quickly approaching. The 2020-2021 FIL World Cup begins in Innsbruck on November 28, 2020.