14/10/2021

Success Of NI's Olympic And Paralympic Athletes Celebrated At Stormont

The world class achievements of NI's Olympic and Paralympic athletes have been recognised at an event at Stormont, hosted by the First and deputy First Ministers, Paul Givan and Michelle O'Neill.

The reception, honouring the athletes successes in Tokyo, was held in the Great Hall at Parliament Buildings.

First Minister Paul Givan said: "Our Olympic and Paralympic athletes from across Northern Ireland have shown us the true meaning of determination. In normal times, it is an exceptional achievement to compete at a world-class level in your chosen sport, but to train and perform in the face of the adversity caused by the pandemic is nothing short of remarkable.

"It is fitting that we in Stormont recognise the success of our local athletes who took part in the Tokyo Games, and it is my privilege as First Minister to congratulate them all."
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Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill added: "It is fantastic to have an opportunity to recognise the efforts and talent of all our local athletes who participated in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, and to celebrate their success.

"The discipline, resilience and commitment they have shown to compete among the best in the world is truly outstanding - especially during such a challenging time, with interruption to training programmes and competitions. All the athletes should be so proud of their incredible achievements."

Among those attending the event were medal winners Bethany Firth, who won two gold and two silver medals for swimming and athlete Jason Smyth who achieved a gold medal in the 100 metres race.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey, who organised the event, paid tribute to the crucial support that family members, friends, volunteers, administrators and coaches provided to the athletes.

She said: "I am immensely proud that local athletes competed at the highest level in Tokyo. They are all an inspiration to us.

"It is important that opportunities are offered for people to get involved in sport, especially those groups which are currently under-represented such as females and those with disabilities."

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