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MCKILLOP Michael
Sport Para athletics
NPC Ireland   
GenderMen
Age28
Place of BirthBelfast, NIR
Height1.83 m
Weight 69 kg
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Cerebral Palsy
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
T37
Further Personal Information
Family
Partner Nicole Martin
Residence
Belfast, NIR
Occupation
Athlete, Motivational Speaker
Languages
English
Higher education
Leisure Management, Sport Management - Belfast Metropolitan College: Northern Ireland
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He got involved in the sport in 2000 at Abbey Athletics Club in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He began to take athletics more seriously when he moved schools to St. Malachy's College, where his father was head coach.
Why this sport?
His father encouraged him to try the sport.
Club / Team
North Belfast Harriers: Northern Ireland
Name of coach
Paddy McKillop [personal, father], NIR; Nicole Martin [personal, partner], NIR
Senior International Debut
Year
2006
Competing for
Ireland
General Interest
Nicknames
Mick (purerunning.co.uk, 27 Mar 2015)
Hobbies
Supporting English football team Arsenal, watching rugby, playing golf with his father. (paralympic.org, 06 Mar 2016; paralympic.org, 18 Sep 2015)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning two gold medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (Athlete, 12 Jul 2017)
Most influential person in career
His parents. (Athlete, 12 Jul 2017)
Hero / Idol
British middle distance runner Sebastian Coe, English footballer David Beckham, French footballer Thierry Henry. (paralympic.org, 27 Sep 2015; jumping-the-gun.com, 14 Jan 2015)
Injuries
An injury meant he was unable to compete at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin, Germany. (bbc.com, 07 Jun 2018)

A foot sprain prevented him from training in January 2015. (jumping-the-gun.com, 14 Jan 2015)

He suffered from a foot injury throughout 2013. (independent.ie, 28 Aug 2014)

In 2012 he needed surgery after he fractured the scaphoid bone in his right wrist when he fell off a bicycle while on holiday in Rome, Italy. (bbc.co.uk, 10 Oct 2012)

He missed two months of training after he injured his right foot in October 2011. (michaelmckillop.tumblr.com, 21 Oct 2011)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
He likes to eat lollipops in the hours leading up to his races. (paralympic.org, 25 Aug 2012)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Believe and achieve." (Athlete, 12 Jul 2017)
Awards and honours
In 2017 he was inducted into the Belfast City Council Hall of Fame at the Belfast Sports Awards in Northern Ireland. (belfastcity.gov.uk, 27 Mar 2017)

He was named the 2015 Athlete with an Impairment of the Year at the Belfast Telegraph Sport Awards in Northern Ireland. (paralympics.ie, 26 Jan 2016)

He received the Mary Peters Trust Outstanding Sportsperson of 2013 Award from Disability Sports Northern Ireland. (belfasttelegraph.co.uk, 09 Jan 2014)

In 2013 he received an honorary degree from Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland. (newtownabbeytoday.co.uk, 14 Dec 2013)

He and Kenyan Para athlete Mary Nakhumicha Zakayo received the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. The honour is presented to the athletes who exemplified the best spirit of the Games by the International Paralympic Committee [IPC]. (rte.ie, 08 Sep 2012)
Other sports
He has competed in races for able-bodied athletes. (rte.ie, 23 Aug 2012)
Famous relatives
His father Paddy and his mother Catherine are both former athletes. (belfasttelegraph.co.uk, 04 Sep 2012)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Instagram profile, 06 Jun 2017)
Impairment
He was born with cerebral palsy due to him having a stroke while still in his mother's womb. He was diagnosed with the condition after he fell down some stairs at age two. "The condition affects the right side of my body and my skills with my right hand and foot are not as good as my left side." (Athlete, 12 Jul 2017; belfasttelegraph.co.uk, 04 Sep 2012; bbc.co.uk, 29 Aug 2012)
Other information
DARK TIMES
He has struggled with mental health issues in the past with injuries, such as the foot problems he experienced between 2013 and 2015, often being the catalyst. "It wasn't a very enjoyable time of my life. You're expected to win gold medals when you train every day as an elite athlete, and that was what my job was. When you are injured and in boots and casts and things like that, you think to yourself, 'Is my career over?' At that time, I was told my foot might never recover, and for me that was quite a scary thing because I trained as an athlete full-time from the age of 18. I didn't go to university and I didn't have a degree, so I didn't really have anything to fall back on. That's what I was panicking about, whereas I should have been focusing on getting back to recovery and back to winning ways." (belfasttelegraph.co.uk, 10 Sep 2016)

EPILEPSY
He was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 15. "The epilepsy has to be treated or it could take over my life, and I have to be careful not to overdo training. All the fits happen in my sleep so I know I'm going to be in a bed or somewhere safe, but when you do get one, it can leave you drained for up to a week and you barely leave your bed." (bbc.co.uk, 29 Aug 2012)

STADIUM FIRST
He was the first male athlete to set a world record at the Olympic Stadium in London, England. He achieved this during a test event in May 2012. (belfasttelegraph.co.uk, 04 Sep 2012)

COMPETITION FIRST
He became the first Para athlete to compete at the European cross-country championships when he took part in the 2009 event in Santry, Ireland. (paralympic.org, 18 Sep 2015)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
1 2008 800m T37 1:59.39
1 2012 800m T37 1:57.22
1 2012 1500m T37 4:08.11
1 2016 1500m T37 4:12.11
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
1 2006 800m T37 2:02.13
2 2006 1500m T37 4:24.16
1 2011 1500m T37 4:14.81
1 2011 800m T37 1:58.90
1 2013 800m T37 1:57.17
1 2013 1500m T38 4:10.17
1 2015 800m T38 2:01.31
1 2015 1500m T37 4:16.19
1 2017 800m T38 2:00.92
1 2017 1500m T37 4:36.38
European Championships
Rank Year Event Result
1 2014 800m T38 1:58.16
1 2014 1500m T38 4:16.73