Paralympics Ireland wants help to turn #GreenToGold in Rio
By Mary McGuire
Three of Ireland’s elite Paralympic athletes were in London this week to relive the dizzying heights of the 2012 Games with Ireland’s Ambassador Dan Mulhall and a number of the team’s supporters at a reception held at the Irish Embassy.
Swimmer Ellen Keane was joined by Paralympic gold medalists Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth – the ‘fastest Paralympian on the planet’ – to take a trip down memory lane with the Irish living in London and also reconnect with their supporters here as the countdown to Rio 2016 continues.
CEO of Paralympics Ireland Liam Harbison was there with Irish rugby legends and Paralympics Ireland supporters Fergus Slattery and Gordon D’Arcy, with the latter heading up an entertaining Question and Answer session between the athletes and invited guests.
Mr. Harbison outlined the team’s expectations for Rio 2016, and said they hope Team Ireland will win at least eight medals at this year’s Games.
“Looking ahead to Rio, we are looking forward to having a team of about 45 athletes, and we’ve set a medal target of about eight,” he stated.
“We’re on track behind our Chef de Mission, Denis Toomey, and we look forward to doing both the Irish public and the Irish diaspora extremely proud when they tune in to watch the Games in Rio.
“It’s great to be back here in London with some of the many friends we made during the incredible London 2012 Paralympic Games,” he continued. “We are here to relive some of the magic from those Games and also to reconnect with our supporters here as we move closer to Rio 2016.
“Rio certainly has an enormous act to follow to get even close to the standard of the Paralympic Games that took place here four years ago. It’s a tough task and I’m sure they’ll do their very best to match it, and with just 198 days left to go, we are now calling on Irish everywhere to get behind the team and support us as much as possible to help showcase the superb capabilities of our elite Irish Paralympics athletes,” he concluded.
Speaking after the event, athlete Jason Smyth added: “It was a great event this evening and an honour to meet Ambassador Mulhall again. It is always great to have opportunities to build on the support and awareness of the Irish Paralympic Team, especially as we head into the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio and it was fantastic to reconnect with our supporters in London once more.”
Ellen Keane and Michael McKillop joined Smyth in their enjoyment of the event, with McKillop adding: “Tonight was a fantastic opportunity to engage with our supporters here in London and to show them that we are working hard to do them proud on the grandest stage of them all this year at the Rio 2016 Games.”
Paralympics Ireland is also looking forward to the launch of its new website later this month, and guests at the reception were given a preview of some exciting things to come in the months ahead.
Supporters were also invited to follow them on social media (facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine) for all the latest updates on Ireland’s Road To Rio.
More images from the event: