RIO-BOUND Irish sailor Saskia Tidey yesterday hailed the influence of her father who was kidnapped by the IRA 33 years ago.
Don Tidey, a former Quinnsworth supermarket boss, was rescued in 1983 from Derrada Wood, Ballinamore in Leitrim after being held captive for 23 days.
Following a manhunt, a solider and garda officer were both killed during a shootout between soldiers, Gardai and Tidey's captors.
Speaking yesterday at the Irish Olympic Sailing Team Announcement, 23-year-old Saskia, who was born a decade after the ordeal, paid tribute to her father.
She explained: "He’s my dad and what I take out of it is that he’s a very strong person and someone who motivates me in sport, in life and in going out and achieving any dream that I have.
"I’m so proud to be at the Olympics and for him to see me there. He’s given me a huge insight into how to work as a team and what has been successful for him — I can draw some experience from that."
Unfortunately for Saskia, her father won't be able to make the Games in Rio and will have to be content watching from home.
She explained: “(My parents) were out with me three weeks ago at our last training camp to have a look at the venue. But they’ll stay back for the Olympics and watch it on TV."
Saskia, originally from Dublin, is a former Netball player who only took up sailing in 2008. She will team up with East Hampshire born Andrea Brewster - who switched allegiances from Great Britain to Ireland in 2013 because of her Cork mother - in the 49erFX class.
Humble Saskia explained the goals for her and her partner, with hopes of securing a medal.
She said: "(Andrea and I) joined up in 2013. We’re a relatively new team in comparison to some of the girls who have been sailing together who we’re competing against.
"Our biggest goal now for the Olympics is really to be consistent. If we have a consistent week, yes there’s a possibility (of a medal), but our main focus is the process and to try to bring home results."