"It is a lot of work and pressure but the top athletes excel in this environment."
Paralympics Ireland provided details on the key events and targets on Monday (21 May) for Team Ireland 100 days ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Paralympics Ireland targets a team of 40 for London 2012 and aims to win five medals at the Games. This target is consistent with the long term goals set in the Athens Review and would emulate the team’s success in Beijing.
The Irish Sports Council (ISC) will provide 700,000 EUR to support the High Performance Plan for Paralympics Ireland. In addition individual athletes will receive 625,000 EUR in grants through the International Carding Scheme. In April, the Council approved the annual core grant of 300,000 EUR to Paralympics Ireland, bringing a total investment of 1,625,000 EUR for the year.
Paralympic programmes are also fully integrated into the high performance plans of Sailing, Rowing and Cycling. Additional funding for these programmes has been secured for 2012 and is included in the overall funding allocation from the Irish Sports Council to each sport.
Jimmy Gradwell, President of Paralympics Ireland said: “The Irish Sports Council funding is essential if we are to achieve our targets. We know the Team has the talent to win medals but it is about performing on the day in the most competitive arena that the athletes will ever face; we have to get to London fit and primed and hope that all the preparation will bring its reward”.
John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council said: “Paralympic Sport is incredibly competitive and in order to succeed you need talented athletes and coaches supported by significant investment. The whole country will get behind the team and everyone is looking forward to the Games. It is essential that everything is done in order to allow the athletes perform to their best in London. The Paralympic team has always been a source of pride to Ireland and I am sure London 2012 will be the same.”
There are three remaining camps for the team in advance of London, including the first ever Paralympics Ireland Camp in Northern Ireland at the end of June, the final Renault Ireland Team 2012 Training Camp in Limerick in August and the ISC Pre-Games Holding Camp in Coimbra, Portugal. The selection process will conclude in mid-June following the final opportunities for Irish athletes to qualify for the Games up to 10 June. The complete team will be announced on 28 June.
The team will depart for the pre-Games camp on 16 August and then travel direct to London on 24 August, where it will go straight to the village to prepare for competition which commences following the Opening Ceremony on 29 August.
Liam Harbison, CEO of Paralympics Ireland and Chef de Mission for London said: “The excitement is really beginning to build now. We are in the final countdown and implementing all the detailed plans that have been in place since 2008. Everyone is looking forward to the camps and the final preparations for the Games; it is a lot of work and pressure but the top athletes excel in this environment.”