Strong Irish team for announced for IPC Athletics Euros

Paralympics Ireland has announced an eight strong team for the IPC Athletics European Championships which are set to take place in Swansea, Great Britain, from 18-23 August. 07 Aug 2014
Ricardo Costa de Oliveira of Brasil

Ricardo Costa de Oliveira of Brasil competes at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

ⒸWagner Meier for the IPC
By Paralympics Ireland

The team, which is sponsored by Allianz Ireland, features reigning double Paralympic champions Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop, in addition to fellow London 2012 Paralympic medallist throwers Orla Barry and Catherine O’Neill.

They are joined by wheelchair racer at 100m and 400m John McCarthy, teenage long jumper and sprinter Heather Jameson, shot put and Javelin thrower Lorraine Regan, and newcomer to this level Andrew Flynn who races in the 5,000m.

Smyth and McKillop will be confident of adding European titles to the World titles they claimed last year in Lyon, France, despite both recently recovering from injury. McKillop spent a lengthy period rehabilitating a foot injury sustained after he won the IPC Athletics World Championships last year.

Smyth had been receiving treatment for ongoing tightness of his hamstring but clearly showed this is behind him when representing Northern Ireland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and running 10.66 for 100m.

Reigning discus F57 European Champion Orla Barry will be hopeful of retaining her title, having proved her credentials in the past as a major Championship performer.

Fellow thrower Lorraine Regan a member of Paralympics Ireland’s development panel has been in great form of late achieving a personal best in javelin. Catherine O'Neill will compete in the club throw; she is a major championship performer having won Paralympic and World Championship medals in the past.

Wheelchair racer John McCarthy who competes at 100m and 400m has been consistently bringing his times down over recent years and will be targeting a top five finish in Swansea. Heather Jameson will be looking to break 15 seconds for 100m whilst Andrew Flynn is the newcomer to the team. He will battle hard over 5,000m as he did at the recent IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin, Germany, to secure European Championship qualification. His target in Swansea will be a personal best time.

Looking ahead to the Championships Head of Paralympic Athletics James Nolan commented: “This is a very high quality team with lots of experience; six of the eight have represented Ireland at London 2012. I am confident that they have done the necessary preparatory work to achieve success in Swansea, for some that will be podium positions for others personal bests or seasons bests. Without doubt they will be competitive and rise to the challenge.”

Almost 560 athletes from 39 countries will be competing at the Championships which will be held in the Swansea University International Sports Village. The Irish team depart on Friday 15 August.

The Irish team is proudly sponsored by Allianz, an official sponsor of Paralympics Ireland.