The eight Irish Paralympic athletes competing at the IPC World Athletics Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand are making their final preparations ahead of the commencement of the Championships.
The Irish team arrived in New Zealand on the 15 January and Team Manager, two time Olympian, James Nolan has been impressed by the facilities to date and has high hopes of some podium finishes in the land of the long white cloud.
James Nolan, Irish Athletics Team Manager, commented: “Since arriving in New Zealand, the Championship organisation and logistics have been first rate. Our athletes have settled in well, are confident of putting in strong individual performances and are eagerly awaiting the first day of competition.
“We have some very experienced athletes in the team with a number of major Championships under their belts and Michael McKillop and Orla Barry are two real medal hopes.
“We also have three young athletes making their Championship debuts and the experience will be invaluable to them in the preparation for London 2012.”
Although injury has deprived the Irish team of sprinting sensation Jason Smyth, the team in New Zealand contains a number of serious medal hopes including reigning 800m Paralympic champion Michael McKillop and reigning European champion discus thrower Orla Barry who finished just outside the medals in Beijing .
The team also includes experienced athletes such as Catherine Wayland, Rosemary Tallon and Garrett Culliton, a veteran of four Paralympic Games. Three athletes will make their major championship debuts in Christchurch – Nadine Lattimore, Ailish Dunne and Ray O’Dwyer.
The IPC World Athletics Championships get underway in Christchurch on Saturday 22 January with two Irish athletes competing on the opening day. Catherine Wayland will compete in the F51 Club throw final and Ray O’Dwyer will compete in the F34 Shot put final.