Ireland’s London 2012 Paralympics team will be the largest the country has fielded in more than a decade.
A total of 49 athletes – including five reigning world champions – have secured a coveted spot in the ambitious squad, officially announced by Minister for Sport, Michael Ring at the RDS in Dublin.
Congratulating the athletes on making the final selection, he added: “Very few people get the opportunity to represent their country at such a high level. It’s a tremendous honour and the athletes, their families and friends should be very proud. I have no doubt that our athletes will be great ambassadors for Ireland and for their respective sports.”
Team Chef de Mission and Paralympics Ireland CEO Liam Harbison added: “Today’s team announcement is the culmination of a huge effort by everyone involved in Paralympic sport in Ireland. Their support has enabled us to prepare 49 athletes to compete and excel at the London2012 Paralympic Games. It’s time for us to make a return on the faith and investment placed in us by them all – we aim to deliver.”
Competing across ten disciplines, the 49 member strong team represents 20 Irish counties and is the largest Irish team fielded since the 1996 Atlanta games.
It includes reigning world champions in athletics and cycling and two defending Paralympic champions, athletes Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop.
London 2012 will also see Ireland compete in shooting and rowing for the first time at a Paralympic Games.
The team enjoyed their first Paralympics Ireland training camp in Northern Ireland, held in Antrim, over the weekend.
They will attend a final training camp in Limerick in August before heading to a pre-games holding camp in Portugal and travel directly from there to take their place in the Paralympic Village in London on the August 24, ahead of the Paralympics opening ceremony on August 29.