Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring has extended his best wishes to Team Ireland’s Paralympic Team as they head off for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Speaking after he addressed last night’s send-off for the Paralympic Team at Bewley’s Dublin Airport Hotel, Minister Ring said it’s great to have another exciting athletic event to look forward to: ‘Ireland has a proud tradition in Paralympic sport. We have enjoyed some wonderful successes down through the years. The five medals won at the 2008 Beijing Games, including three Gold, a Silver and a bronze, were a magnificent achievement. Irish Paralympians have continued to perform strongly since then and five World Champions are represented on the London Games team’.
The 14th Games will see the greatest ever number of competing elite Paralympic athletes (4,200 from 150 countries). The Irish team of 49 athletes representing the four corners of Ireland across 10 sports will travel to London with high hopes of repeating their dazzling successes of Beijing 2008.
“Paralympics Ireland has done a wonderful job in developing Paralympic sport in Ireland. I am also delighted that the Paralympic Games will be live on Irish television on Setanta Ireland for the first time, with further coverage on RTE and Channel 4. It’s wonderful to see so much media interest in the Games and hopefully there will be many Irish successes to report on.
“Irish sport depends on the commitment and dedication of so many people working in the background, particularly the volunteers who devote themselves to sport and to their community. I would like to congratulate everyone who gives such huge commitment, especially when the pace of modern life means that everyone has so many competing demands on their time.
“A special word must go to the President of the Paralympic Council of Ireland, James Gradwell, and the Chef de Mission of the Irish Paralympic Team, Liam Harbison. Our Paralympic athletes are noted for the quality of their performances and for their sporting manner. Long may that proud tradition continue.”