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Riders named for Paralympic Games in Rio

06/07/2016
Riders named for Paralympic Games in Rio

Paralympics Ireland announces 44-strong Irish Team for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games


Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan T.D.,
was on hand at Dublin’s City Hall today to announce the Irish Paralympic Team for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games which will take place from September 7th to 18th.


The team of 44 athletes, who will compete across nine different sports at the Games in Rio, includes three reigning world champions (athletics and cycling) and two defending Paralympic champions, Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop, who will be aiming to
defend their titles in the 100m (T13) and 1,500m (T37) respectively.


In cycling six bikes will compete for Ireland. Reigning Time Trial World Champion Eoghan Clifford will be competing in his first Paralympic Games. After bursting on the Paracycling scene with World Titles across three events the Galway based rider will be going to Rio with his sights set on a podium performance in the MC3 category.


Colin Lynch will be going to his second Paralympic Games, and the C2 Macclesfield (UK) based rider will be challenging a medal in the Individual Pursuit, an event in which he won silver last March.


Competing in her second Paralympic Games is Katie-George Dunlevy, from Crawley (UK), who has been dominating the podium this year with Dundalk based pilot Eve McCrystal. The tandem pairing won the last World Cup in Belgium, beating World Championships GB.

  
Completing the Paracycling line up are handcyclists Declan Slevin, from Westmeath, and Wicklow’s Ciara Staunton along with Waterford man Damien Vereker, who will be piloted by the talented 21 year old, Seán Hahessy from Tipperary.


Speaking at the team announcement,
Minister of State O’Donovan commented: “I would like to congratulate all of the athletes on their selection for the 2016 Paralympic Games. It is a tremendous honour for each of the 44 athletes who have been selected to represent Ireland at the Rio Games and they can all be very proud of that achievement.


“I have no doubt that they will be wonderful ambassadors for Ireland and for their respective sports. I would like to wish all of the athletes well in their final preparations for Rio.”


Chef de Mission for the Irish Team, and former Paracycling Manager and Cycling Ireland President, Denis Toomey, commented:
Team announcement day is a major milestone on Paralympic Ireland’s road To Rio. Qualifications and selections are complete and today we announce those athletes who will represent Ireland at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.


“As Chef de Mission it has been both and honour and a privilege to be tasked with telling the nation who the lucky athletes are and I certainly look forward to leading them all to Rio for the Games.”


Paralympic Performance Director, Dave Malone, spoke about the Irish Paralympic Team’s performance goals for Rio 2016: “
Irish athletes will go to Rio this September and compete for glory against approximately 4,350 athletes from all parts of the world over the course of 11 days.


The team is ready to achieve great personal and collective success at the Games, and their performances throughout the qualification process for Rio indicates that a medal target of eight for the team is achievable. We also anticipate a large number of finals from the team, and we are seeking career best performances from as many of the team as possible on the biggest stage of all.


“We have ring fenced all available supports around the athletes in order to ensure that they can produce their optimum performance on the international stage.”


The first wave of athletes will depart on August 23rd, and will use the Irish Holding Camp in Uberlandia, Brazil to prepare for the Games, which has been set up with the generous support of Sport Ireland.


Coverage of the Rio 2016 Paralympics Games will be available on RTÉ throughout the duration of the Games, on TV, radio and online.



Photos Matt O'Connor

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