Irish Paralympians seek London 2012 glory

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Updated: August 30, 2011

There is just one year to go until London 2012 Paralympic Games get underway and a host of Irish Paralympic athletes are already eyeing a podium finish at the games next summer.

Four years ago in Beijing, the Irish Paralympic team returned home with five medals including three gold and that success has inspired the team to achieve even greater success at London 2012.  A team of approximately 40 Irish Paralympic athletes will compete in next summer’s games.

The current Paralympics Ireland elite panel contains a number of athletes that have excelled on the world stage since Beijing.  The reigning T13 100m and 200m Paralympic champion and world record holder Jason Smyth will be out to defend his sprint titles in London and is also hoping to compete in the Olympic Games earlier in the summer.

Michael McKillop, the reigning Paralympic T37 800m champion added the 800m World title to his achievements in January of this year.   Another athlete to excel this year is Catherine O’Neill who won gold and silver at the Athletics World Championships in New Zealand.  The Wexford native is hotly tipped to contend for a podium finish in the field events in London.

In cycling Mark Rohan dominated the 2011 HC1 Road World Cup Series taking gold at all four events and on the track tandem pair Catherine Walsh and Francine Meehan took bronze at the World Track Championships in Italy.  In the pool, European 100m back stroke silver medallist Bethany Firth will be looking to replicate her 2010 form in London as will Beijing silver medallist Darragh McDonald in the 400m freestyle.

Liam Harbison, CEO of Paralympics Ireland, commented, “With just one year to go a lot of Ireland’s top Paralympic athletes will be  serious medal contenders at next Summer’s Games.  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.”

Ticket pricing and the event schedule for the London 2012 Paralympic Games have just been announced.  Full price tickets for the Games start at £10 with £5 tickets available for those aged under 16 and over 60.  Individual ticket prices vary according to the sport and these range from £10 – £45.  Tickets for the Opening Ceremony on the 29th August 2012 range from £20 – £500 while tickets for the Closing Ceremony on the 9thSeptember range from £20 – £350.  Full information on ticketing is available at www.tickets.london2012.com

Paralympics Ireland has produced a detailed ticket guide for Irish fans travelling to the Paralympic Games in London.  It is available on www.facebook.com/paralympicsireland Please note that the Irish Paralympic Team for London 2012 will not be finalised until June 2012.,

Here for your information more detailed information re the Paralympic venues and some of the hopefuls who will be fighting hard for a place in the London 2012 Irish team.

ARCHERY

Venue The Royal Artillery Barracks
Dates Thursday 30 August – Wednesday 5 September
Medal Events 9
Athletes 140 (88 men, 52 women)
Irish Hopefuls Barry Guider, Rathmines, Dublin

Jody O’Neill, Ardee, Louth

Irish Highlights Beijing 2008:

Sean Heary, Quarter-finalist

More Sport Info http://www.london2012.com/paralympic-archery

ATHLETICS

Venue Olympic Park – Olympic Stadium
Dates Friday 31 August – Sunday 9 September
Medal Events 170
Athletes 1,100 (740 men, 360 women)
Irish Hopefuls Orla Barry, Ladysbridge, Cork

Catherine O’Neill, New Ross, Wexford

Michael McKillop, Newtownabbey, Antrim

Jason Smyth, Eglinton, Derry

Garrett Cullinton, Clonasalee, Laois

Ailish Dunne, Mountmellick, Laois

John McCarthy, Dunmanway, Cork

Ray O’Dwyer, Hugginstown, Kilkenny

Nadine Lattimore, Clontarf, Dublin

Eoin Cleare, Shinrone, Offaly

James McCarthy, Castletroy, Limerick

Amanda Crotty, Youghal, Cork

Irish Highlights Beijing 2008:

Jason Smyth T13 100m & 200m Gold Medallist

Michael McKillop T37 800m Gold Medallist

Christchurch 2011:

Michael McKillop T37 800m & 1500m Gold Medallist

Catherine O’Neill F51 Discus Gold Medallist & Club Silver Medallist

More Sport Info http://www.london2012.com/paralympic-athletics

BOCCIA

Venue ExCel – South Arena 1
Dates Sunday 2 September – Saturday 8 September
Medal Events 7
Athletes 104
Irish Hopefuls Gabriel Shelly, Baganelstown, Carlow

Padraic Moran, Bray, Wicklow

Roberta Connolly, Foxrock, Dublin

Jason Kearney, Monkstown, Dublin

John Cronin, Mallow, Cork

Gerard O’Grady, Askeaton, Limerick

Jennifer Garde,  Cork

Irish Highlights Beijing 2008:

Gabriel Shelly BC1 Individual Bronze Medallist

Sydney 2000:

Gabriel Shelly BC1 Individual Gold Medallist
John Cronin & Margaret Grant BC3 Pair Gold Medallists

More Sport Info http://www.london2012.com/boccia

CYCLING – ROAD

Venue Brands Hatch
Dates Wednesday 5 September – Saturday 8 September
Medal Events 32
Athletes 225 (155 men, 70 women) across road & track
Irish Hopefuls Mark Rohan, Ballinahown, Westmeath

Catherine Walsh, Swords, Dublin

Francine Meehan (Pilot), Killurin, Offaly

Cathal Miller, Artane, Dublin

Colin Lynch, Macclesfield, Cheshire, England

Enda Smyth, Santry, Dublin

James Brown, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, Eng.

Con Collis (Pilot), Marino, Dublin

Trix Schwedler, Lisselton, Kerry

Andrew Fitzgerald, Warrenpoint, Down

Damien Shaw, Mullingar, Westmeath

Irish Highlights Canada 2010:

Mark Rohan HC1 World Road Champion

2011:

Mark Rohan UCI World Cup Series HC1 Champion

Colin Lynch UCI World Cup Series C2 Silver Medallist

More Sport Info http://www.london2012.com/paralympic-cycling-road

CYCLING – TRACK

Venue Olympic Park – Velodrome
Dates Thursday 30 August – Sunday 2 September
Medal Events 18
Athletes 225 (155 men, 70 women) across road & track
Irish Hopefuls Mark Rohan, Ballinahown, Westmeath

Catherine Walsh, Swords, Dublin

Francine Meehan (Pilot), Killurin, Offaly

Cathal Miller, Artane, Dublin

Colin Lynch, Macclesfield, Cheshire, England

Enda Smyth, Santry, Dublin

James Brown, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, Eng.

Con Collis (Pilot), Marino, Dublin

Trix Schwedler, Lisselton, Kerry

Andrew Fitzgerald, Warrenpoint, Down

Damien Shaw, Mullingar, Westmeath

Irish Highlights Italy 2011:

Catherine Walsh & Francine Meehan World Track Pursuit Bronze Medallists

More Sport Info http://www.london2012.com/paralympic-cycling-track

EQUESTRIAN

Venue Greenwich Park
Dates Thursday 30 August – Tuesday 4 September
Medal Events 11
Athletes 78
Irish Hopefuls James Dwyer, Piltown, Kilkenny

Breda Bernie, Dundalk, Louth

Rosemary Gaffney, Clonmel, Tipperary

Geraldine Savage, Dublin

Helen Kearney, Dunlavin, Wicklow

Breda Bernie, Shankill, Dublin

Kate Kerr Horan, Kerry

Kathryn Wheelock, England

Angela Lyons, Blarney, Cork,

Irish Highlights Beijing 2008:

Eilish Byrne Grade III 8th place

Kentucky 2010 World Equestrian Games:

James Dywer Grade IV 5th place

More Sport Info http://www.london2012.com/paralympic-equestrian

ROWING

Venue Eton Dorney
Dates Friday 31 August – Sunday 2 September
Medal Events 4
Athletes 96 (48 men, 48 women)
Irish Hopefuls LTAMix4+:

Kevin DuToit, London & South Africa

Sarah Caffrey, Clonlara, Clare

Shane Ryan, Ballybricken, Limerick

Anne Marie McDaid, Ramelton, Donegal

Helen Arbuthnot, Christchurch, Dorset, England

Irish Highlights No previous appearance by Ireland at the Paralympic Games

New Zealand 2010:

Ireland 5th place at FISA World Championships

More Sport Info http://www.london2012.com/paralympic-rowing

SAILING

Venue Portland & Weymouth, Dorset
Dates Saturday 1 September – Thursday 6 September
Medal Events 3
Athletes 80
Irish Hopefuls 3-person keelboat (Sonar):

John Twomey, Kinsale, Cork

Anthony Heggarty, Mallon, Cork

Ian Costello, Tulligmore, Kerry

Irish Highlights Beijing 2008:

3-person keelboat 9th place

More Sport Info http://www.london2012.com/paralympic-sailing

SHOOTING

Venue The Royal Artillery Barracks
Dates Thursday 30 August – Tuesday 4 September
Medal Events 12
Athletes 140 (100 men, 40 women)
Irish Hopefuls Sean Baldwin, Newbridge, Kildare
Irish Highlights No previous appearance by Ireland at the Paralympic Games
More Sport Info http://www.london2012.com/paralympic-shooting

SWIMMING

Venue Olympic Park – Aquatics Centre
Dates Thursday 30 August – Saturday 8 September
Medal Events 148
Athletes 600 (350 men, 250 women)
Irish Hopefuls Darragh McDonald, Gorey, Wexford

Ellen Keane, Clontarf, Dublin

James Scully, Rathoath, Meath

Jonathan McGrath, Killaloe, Clare

Bethany Firth, Downpatrick, Down

Stephen Campbell, Cookstown, Tyrone

Matthew Bell,Newtownards, Antrim

James Hamilton, Ballyclare, Antrim

Laurence McGivern, Rostrevor, Down

Gina Lourens, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Irish Highlights Beijing 2008:

Darragh McDonald S6 400m Freestyle Silver Medallist

Berlin 2010 European Championships:

Bethany Firth S14 100m Freestyle Silver Medallist

Darragh McDonald S6 400m Freestyle Bronze Medallist

More Sport Info http://www.london2012.com/paralympic-swimming

TABLE TENNIS

Venue ExCel – North Arena 1
Dates Thursday 30 August – Saturday 8 September
Medal Events 29
Athletes 276 (174 men, 102 women)
Irish Hopefuls Eimear Breathnach, Sallynoggin, Dublin

Rena McCarron Rooney, Bearna, Galway

Irish Highlights

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