Friday, January 28, 2011

Paralympics Ireland Launched

Pictured are Paralympic athletes, from left, table tennis player Eimear Breathnach, from Ballinteer, Dublin, member of the Paralympic Equestrian team Breda Bernie, from Shankill, Dublin, current Boccia World Champion Padraic Moran, from Bray, Co. Wicklow, Paralympic cyclist Cathal Miller, from Artane, Dublin, and Paralympic swimmer James Scully, from Ratoath, Co. Meath. Bewley’s Hotel Ballsbridge, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Brian

Paralympics Ireland Launched

70 strong London 2012 Paralympic Panel named

The Paralympic Council of Ireland, the body responsible for the development
of elite Paralympic Sport in Ireland and the management of Irish representative
teams at Paralympic Games and World Championships, has relaunched today
as Paralympics Ireland at an event held at Bewley’s Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin,
Established in 1987 as a Coordination Committee for the 1988 Seoul Paralympic
Games, the organisation has evolved into its current remit to develop
performance and manage all elite representative Irish Paralympic sport.
A new Paralympics Ireland logo has been designed to reflect the dynamism
of Irish Paralympic Sport and the new logo will adorn all Paralympics Ireland
collateral from January 2011 including the Irish team’s official London 2012
Paralympic Games performance and leisure wear.

To highlight the power of Irish Paralympic athletes to inspire others through their
achievements and the journey each Paralympic athlete has taken to become an
elite athlete for Ireland, Paralympics Ireland has adopted a new tagline, Inspiring
Beyond Belief, which will feature prominently in all organisation messaging.

Liam Harbison, Chief Executive Officer of Paralympics Ireland, commented,

"The launch of Paralympics Ireland today marks a very significant milestone in the
history of the organisation. The aim of this process was to deliver a dynamic
new name and logo that clearly reflect the talents and abilities of Ireland’s

Paralympians and the dedication and commitment to the Paralympic movement
by the Organisation. These changes have been made following a process of
engagement with our Irish Paralympic athletes and our many existing and new
corporate partners. We look forward to increasing awareness of Irish Paralympic
Sport in the build up to London 2012 and to building on the success our athletes
have delivered to date.”

RTE’s Colm Murray who has reported from every Paralympic Games since
Sydney 2000 was on hand to officially launch the new name and logo. As
the event’s guest speaker Murray addressed the invited guests sharing his
memories and experiences of Irish Paralympic teams. A number of leading Irish
Paralympians including Bray’s current Boccia World Champion Padraic Moran
(BC1) and handcycling world champion Mark Rohan (HC1) from Ballinahown
outside Athlone were also on hand to launch Paralympics Ireland.

John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council said “The Irish Sports

Council is proud of its long and successful relationship with Paralympics
Ireland. It is one of the outstanding success stories of Irish sport over the past
decade. Today is an important milestone in its continuing development as an
ambitious, strong and independent organisation that provides excellent services
and leadership to its athletes, sports and the wider community”.

A seventy strong elite panel of Irish Paralympic athletes across nine sports
bidding for the London 2012 Paralympic Games was also announced at the
launch event by Paralympic Performance Director, Nancy Chillingworth.

Paralympics Ireland have announced panels on an annual basis in order to
ensure the focus of preparations for the London 2012 Paralympic Games
prioritises the athletes most likely to represent Ireland at those Games. The
athletes announced on the panel today have met the agreed performance criteria
for inclusion. This panel will participate in Paralympics Ireland training camps,
performance and preparation programmes this year.

The panel includes reigning 100m and 200m Paralympic Champion Jason
Smyth, reigning Paralympic 800m champion Michael McKillop, current Boccia
world champion, Padraic Moran, current world handcycling champion Mark
Rohan, and a 14 strong soccer panel led by Luke Evans which took bronze at the
European 7-a-side Football Championships in 2010.

Nancy Chillingworth, Paralympic Performance Director said: “To have seventy

athletes in the running to qualify for London at this stage is extremely promising
for 2012 with the strong likelihood that it will be Ireland’s largest Paralympic
Team ever. These athletes now have a tough and exciting year ahead as they
target qualification for the Games. They are the focus of Paralympics Ireland’s
preparation plans for London and will travel to Portugal in August this year to
participate in a dry run of our London 2012 holding camp. We are looking forward
to working closely with them and their support teams to secure qualification for
London 2012”.

Paralympic Sport in Ireland has gone from strength to strength in recent years.
At the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games the Irish team won five medals including
three track and field gold and since then further success has been recorded in
athletics, soccer, rowing, cycling, boccia and swimming.

Paralympics Ireland is supported by the Irish Sports Council, the Irish Institute of
Sport, Sport Northern Ireland, the Sports Institute Northern Ireland and Coaching

Paralympics Ireland has also secured a number of high profile corporate
sponsors including Renault Ireland, Cadbury, Allianz, O’Neills and OCS Ireland.


Additional Information

The full list of athletes on the panel with a brief biography of each is enclosed.

About Paralympics Ireland
Paralympics Ireland, formerly the Paralympic Council of Ireland, was founded in 1987
and is responsible for the preparation and management of the Irish team in the lead up

to, and at, the Paralympic Games, and is responsible for the development of Paralympic
sport in Ireland.

Olympic style games for elite athletes with a physical disability were first held in Rome in
1960. Today, the Paralympic Games are a major global sporting event for elite athletes
with disabilities. Athletes compete in various classes of competition, and are classified
according to their disability.
The Paralympic movement has grown dramatically since its inception. The number of
athletes participating in Summer Paralympic Games has increased from 400 athletes
from 23 countries in Rome in 1960 to over 4000 athletes from 153 countries in Beijing in
2008. Ireland has competed in Paralympic Summer Games, including being one of only
13 countries that participated in the first Games in Rome, 1960.

London will host the 2012 Games. Ireland has a proud tradition at the Games, winning 5
medals (3 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze) in Beijing 2008.

Major events calendar
January 21-30th
IPC World Athletics Championships, Christchurch, New Zealand
January 26th
Paralympics Ireland Rebrand event, Dublin

March 11-13
UCI Para-cycling track world championships, Montichiari, Italy

April 7-10
Renault Ireland Team 2012 Training Camp

June 16-7
CPISRA Football 7-a-side World Championships, Netherlands
July 3-10th
IPC Swimming European Championships, Berlin

August 5-13
PCI’s Pre-Games Familiarization Training Camp, Portugal

August 18-26
CPISRA Boccia World Cup, Belfast

August 28-9th
FISA Rowing World Championships, Bled, Slovenia

September 1-4
FEI Para Equestrian European Championships, Moorsele, Belgium

September 5-9
London 2012 Paralympic Games Chefs de Mission Seminar, London
October 19-30th
ITTF European Table Tennis Championships

November 10-13
Renault Ireland Team 2012 Training Camp