Five Irish Paralympic stars were named on the longlist for the RTÉ Sport Awards 2019 Sportsperson of the Year. Katie-George Dunleavy and Eve McCrystal, Jason Smyth, Ellen Keane and Nicole Turner were all nominated for the award on the back of their fantastic sporting achievements in 2019. The winner will be revealed on the awards programme, which will be broadcast live on RTÉ One, Saturday, 14 December at 9.30pm.
Katie-George Dunleavy & Eve McCrystal
The tandem para-cyclists won gold at the UCI Paracycling World Championships in September, which was for a third consecutive year. The duo won the time trial coming home at a time of 41:2.51. They weren’t finished there as they claimed a silver medal two days later in the tandem road-race, finishing behind New Zealand duo Emma Foy and Hannah van Kampen. The silver medal brought the tally to six for the duo, remarkably, five of them being gold. With Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, the cyclists will be hoping to add to that tally.
The worlds fastest Paralympian proved himself yet again with his eight World Para-Athletics gold medal, Jason Smyth targeted and executed gold in Dubai, winning the T13 100m with a time of 10.54 seconds. The Derry sprinter brought home the only gold medal for Team Ireland at the WPA Championships 2019 which was the 19th gold for the World Record holder. His win also secured an all-important slot for Team Ireland at the 2020 Paralympics Games, where Jason will be hoping to win the 20th gold medal of his career.
2019 saw another medal for the swimming superstar, Ellen Keane won Team Irelands second medal of the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships finishing in third place, the same race which saw a new World Record set in the 100m breaststroke SB8. Ellen took a bronze medal finishing with a season best and a time of 1:22:42, a fantastic performance by the Clontarf native in what was a hugely competitive race.
Nicole Turner secured a bronze medal for Team Ireland in the 50m Butterfly S6 at the 2019 World Para-Swimming Championships in London. The teenager sensation showed incredible determination as she battled from fifth place to third in the final ten metres and secure a podium position. Nicole secured a second bronze medal for Team Ireland at the WPS Championships, achieving the target set prior to the championships.