Behan qualifies for Olympic games

Updated: January 11, 2012

Confirmation tonight from the F.I.G, the sports ruling body that Kieran Behan has indeed ‘come from nowhere’ to gain a place in London 2012 following another fine performance at the Visa International Gymnastics (London Prepares) this evening.

The 22 years old can now look forward to London 2012, something he has dreamed about for many years. All those years lost through a series of injuries and medical problems will soon be forgotten. No praise is too high for Behan himself, for his devoted parents Phil and Bernie and especially his coaches Simon Gale, Darren Gerrard and Demetrios Bradshaw at Tolworth Gymnastics.Praise too to Sally Filmer and colleagues at Gymnastics Ireland.

As we revealed on SportsNewsIreland in recent weeks, Kieran and his family have paid out more than Eur 12,500 in travelling expenses, hotel costs and associated costs plus helped with expenses for his back up team and Irish judges at International events.

Gymnastics Ireland is a small organisation without the funds to support such costs – indeed little more than six months ago the thought of any Irish gymnast reaching London 2012 would not have been seriously considered in the world of gymnastics except of course by Kieran and “Team Behan”. This is the first occasion in which an Irish gymnast has actually qualified for an Olympics by achieving a place via a Qualifying competition against the world’s leading gymnasts.

Let us now hope that the Irish Sports Council and some additional sponsors can find a way of ensuring that the future is well and truly looked after financially. Being born and raised in the Croydon area of South London means that until recently – and especially this week – the name of Kieran Behan was not well known in Ireland ,especially not in mainstream media circles.

Little wonder that Behan himself, his parents, coaches and Sally Filmer are “ecstatic” tonight.

“I was just jumping around the room crying my eyes out,” Behan told Press Association Sport.

“I was just so chuffed. It really is a dream come true. To think years and years ago I was told ‘you’re never going to be able to walk again let alone do gymnastics’ to find out I’m going to the Olympic Games is something that dreams are made of.

“To come from all that and everything that’s happened with injuries I’ve got the luck of the Irish on my side most definitely.

“I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for my friends and family and coaches and everyone who has stuck around and been there supporting me.”

You can see Behan in action here at the North Greenwich Arena (O2)

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