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Orla Comerford

9 August 2021; Paralympics Ireland have announced the 8 Athletes that will represent Team Ireland in Athletics. The team includes Jason Smyth, Michael McKillop, Patrick Monahan, Orla Comerford, Niamh McCarthy, Mary Fitzgerald, Greta Streimikyte and Jordan Lee. Pictured at the announcement is Orla Comerford. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

Orla started running with her club Raheny Shamrock when she was just six. She was just 18 when she made her Paralympics debut in Rio where she ran 12.81 seconds in her heat to qualify for the T13 100m final where she finished eighth.

In 2017 she was sixth in the final of the World Championships in London and, a year later won two bronze medals (100/200m) at the European Champions but her progress since has been seriously hampered by injury. Ankle (left) surgery in 2019 and related biomechanical problems meant she’s had to totally overhaul her technique and had a lengthy rehab. She was resigned to targeting Paris in 2024 as her next major but qualified for Rio by running 12.65 seconds at the City of Lisburn meet in May, her first race in three years.

Orla has Stargardt’s disease, a degenerative condition that affects her central vision. She is a student of fine art and media at the National College of Art & Design (NCAD) but, after surgery in 2019, deferred her final semester until after her second Paralympics.

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