Today marks exactly one year to go until the opening of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and Paralympics Ireland has commissioned a special video to celebrate the milestone; WATCH HERE!
Around 4350 athletes from more than 160 countries are set to compete in 428 medal events across 22 sports from 7th – 18th September 2016. The Games are expected to break all TV viewing records and exceed a cumulative global audience of four billion people for the first time.
Ever since the close of the 2012 Games in London Ireland’s leading Paralympic athletes have been training and competing internationally in pursuit of precious qualification for the Rio Games. To date places have already been secured in shooting, cycling (two bikes) and the Cerebral Palsy football team have also booked a spot.
Ireland is hopeful of a strong final team for Rio of between approximately 45 to 50 athletes across eight to ten sports. Qualification is secured across the sports in a variety of means such as world ranking/top placings at major championships and designated events, as well as reaching minimum qualification standards (times and marks etc.) in many sports such as athletics and swimming.
Already this summer swimmers Ellen Keane and Darragh McDonald have won bronze medals at the Paralympic Swimming World Championships, with cyclist Eoghan Clifford claiming time trial gold at the UCI Paracycling Road World Championships last month. Earlier in the year Clifford won gold and bronze at the UCI Paracycling Track World Championships with the women’s tandem of Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal also taking world bronze.
Still to come the FEI Para-Dressage European Championships are the leading event for Ireland’s potential Equestrian representatives in Deauville, France from 17th- 20th September. The IPC Athletics World Championships set for October 22nd – 31st in Doha, Qatar the focal point of the track and field season.
A host of Irish athletes with the support of our expert sports science and medicine team, Chef de Mission and coaching and management staff have just returned from a twelve day familiarisation camp in Uberlandia, north west of Rio. Uberlandia is where the Irish Paralympic team will be based for their 2016 Pre Games holding camp so the idea behind traveling this year is to road test facilities, accommodation, transport and every little thing to ensure all is exactly as it should be next year.
Today in Rio the 2016 Organising Committee for the Games are staging International Paralympic Day on the city’s iconic Copacabana beach to mark the milestone and launch ticket sales. A whole day of activity is planned with demonstrations and appearances from a number of leading international athletes including Ireland’s own Jason Smyth; double Paralympic gold medallist and world record holder in the 100m.