"With just one year to go a lot of Ireland’s top Paralympic athletes will be serious medal contenders at next Summer’s Games."
Four years ago in Beijing, the Irish Paralympic team returned home with five medals, including three golds.
Next summer, at London 2012, approximately 40 Irish athletes will compete at the Paralympic Games, and with just a year to go now, a host of them are already eyeing podium finishes.
The current Paralympics Ireland elite panel contains a number of athletes who have excelled on the world stage since Beijing. The reigning 100m and 200m T13 Paralympic champion and world-record holder, Jason Smyth, will be out to defend his sprint titles in London.
Michael McKillop, the reigning Paralympic 800m T37 champion, added the 800m world title to his achievements this past January. Catherine O’Neill, who won gold and silver at the 2011 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships, Christchurch, New Zealand, will contend for a podium finish in the field events in London.
In Para-Cycling, Mark Rohan dominated the 2011 HC1 Road World Cup Series, taking gold at all four events. On the track, the tandem of Catherine Walsh and Francine Meehan took bronze at the World Track Championships in Italy earlier this year.
In the pool, European 100m Backstroke S14 silver medallist Bethany Firth will be looking to replicate her 2011 form in London, as will Beijing silver medallist Darragh McDonald in the 400m Freestyle S6.
“With just one year to go a lot of Ireland’s top Paralympic athletes will be serious medal contenders at next Summer’s Games,” said Liam Harbison, CEO of Paralympics Ireland. “With the Games taking place just across the water in London, the Paralympics present a great opportunity for Irish sports fans to witness elite Irish athletes perform and reach the podium in the same stadia that will host the Olympic Games next summer. I urge our fans to get behind the team from the stands in London.”
Paralympics Ireland has produced a detailed ticket guide for Irish fans travelling to the Paralympic Games in London. It is available at www.facebook.com/paralympicsireland.
Please note that the Irish Paralympic Team for London 2012 will not be finalized until June 2012.
Ireland will be just one of 150 nations participating in the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which begin in just 365 days. To sign up for your tickets, please visit www.tickets.london2012.com.