A YOUNG Kildare woman and her team returned made a triumphant return to Ireland last week to a rapturous welcoming party from friends and family members, following their participation in a prestigious competition abroad.
Megan Yeates, 22, won a gold medal in the WorldSkills Championship in Kazan, Russia in the field of Freight Forwarding in the category of Transportation and Logistics.
Team Ireland wereanked tenth place in the championship, out of 63 countries.
Speaking with The Kildare Nationalist about her experience, Megan said the event was “like an emotional roller coaster. No amount of training will prepare you for it truly. I had been given great advice before I went and was taught a couple of breathing techniques like TCUP (Think Calmly Under Pressure), milkshake breathing and visualization. However, when the really tough times hit, it was the support of Team Ireland that pulled me through”.
“Everyone was always so supportive of each other and they were a great support to me when needed. It really becomes a game of keeping your wits about you. Even when it becomes overwhelming you have to ground yourself and push through and stay focused at all times”.
She added: “There was no elimination, you just scored marks for your work which was then blindly correct and your marks were converted into points at the end and the person with the highest points won- in this case, me!”
Megans aid themain highlight for her was the parade of nations at the opening ceremony: “Getting to walk out in front of 45,000 people on a world stage in front of the cameras with my teammates is an experience I will never forget. The time spent as a team in the evening, just getting to have fun and enjoy the whole experience was also a highlight for me. Staying in the competitor village with all the other competitors from all around the world was a great experience to meet new people and form new friendships.”
Megan and the rest of her team-mates also did a bit of sightseeing while she was in Kazan. She explained: ” On our day of arrival we were brought on a sightseeing tour of Kazan. We saw the UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Kazan Kremlin, along with some of the local streets and ending up with a big reception at the Kazan International Equestrian Complex. This was the only sightseeing we got to experience. we were also brought on a cultural exchange on Day 2 of our trip to visit a local school in Kazan who entertained us with traditional Russian dance, singing, sports and food”.
Megan said she also learned some valuable life lessons . “I learnt that hard work really does pay off. I had times where I was struggling during competition and I wanted to give up, but having such great support I managed to keep going and perseverance worked. I learnt that with every problem there is always a solution, it’s just about being creative with your thought process. I will use this when I am working full time to remind myself that even on the toughest days, it always works out with the help of hard work and determination when you surround yourself with the right people.”
Megan thanked everyone who supported her during both her training and preparation process and her family and friends, especially those who were at the airport to welcome me home and her partner Barry Malone and Declan Allen, her expert trainer.
“Thank you also to Technological University Dublin for all their support throughout my four-year degree programme and my WorldSkills training. I’m looking forward to taking some time off to relax now and soak up the whole experience before beginning the next chapter in my career.”