London Paralympics Targeted

Paralympic athletes are on the 'final countdown'.

As the countdown begins towards the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, NI Sports Minister Nelson McCausland is today calling for local sportspeople to get involved.

The DUP Executive Minister (who is pictured here) said: "With only three years to go to the start of the Paralympics Games, I would encourage everyone to become involved and get inspired.

"Northern Ireland's athletes are currently in training and focusing on that all important date of 29 August 2012, the Paralympic opening ceremony, when all their hopes and dreams of the previous three years will come to fruition," he said.

"Northern Ireland has produced a number of talented Paralympians, who enjoyed considerable success at Beijing.

"Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth both brought home gold in 2008 and have provided inspiration to all in Northern Ireland to become the best that they can be," the Minister continued.

"For many, this will be a once in a lifetime experience that we must grasp with both hands. I would encourage athletes of all abilities to become involved and aspire to be an Olympic or Paralympic medallist, a title that lives with you forever."

He explained that Northern Ireland has several programmes underway to encourage participation in sport and in particular, Disability Sport NI (DSNI) and its Disability Sports 5 star Challenge.

Over the life of the project, DSNI aim to involve at least 65 schools in Northern Ireland and have 13,650 children participate in the programme by March 2013.

Angela Hendra, Chair of Disability Sport NI, said: "I can't believe how fast the time has gone and it is now only three years until the Paralympic Games in London.

"It is fantastic to hold it so close to home where more people from Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to see the events first hand and feel a part of such a monumental event. I am certain the Games will have a hugely positive impact on disability sport by increasing awareness and by inspiring more people with disabilities to become active in sport throughout Northern Ireland."

Michael McKillop, Paralympic gold medallist and world record holder in 800m, commented: "The Beijing Games were an incredible experience and it was such an honour to bring home a gold medal.

"To have the 2012 Games taking place so close at hand in London will be fantastic. My training and racing have gone really well this season and I hope that when London 2012 comes round I will be in a position to successfully defend my Paralympic title."

The specialist event for those less able-bodied atheletes takes place immediately following the main London 2012 Olympics, from 27 July-12 Aug.

See: www.london2012.com


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

24 March 2011
Jordanstown To Host Paralympic Event
An event for the 2012 Paralympic Games is to be held in Northern Ireland. The Boccia World Cup will take place at the University of Ulster's campus in Jordanstown in August. Boccia is a target ball sport and is a Paralympic sport for athletes with severe disabilities affecting motor skills.
08 September 2021
NI Athletes Win Six Medals At Tokyo Paralympic Games
Northern Irish athletes have brought home a total six medals from the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, which has ended after 12 days of competition.
25 August 2021
NI Athletes Compete At 2020 Paralympic Games In Tokyo
Minister's have wished all NI athletes competing at the 2020 Paralympic Games all the very best in Tokyo. First Minister Paul Givan said: "As the Paralympic Games get under way, it is great to see our hugely talented Paralympians competing on the biggest stage. To be selected for the Paralympic Games is an incredible achievement.
22 August 2012
Paralympic Flame Lit In Northern Ireland
The Paralympic Torch has been lit at the top of Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland’s highest peak. Scouts and mountaineers climbed the County Newcastle hill today to create the National Flame as part of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay.
19 January 2017
Ministers Congratulate Olympic And Paralympic Athletes
A number of athletes from Northern Ireland who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games have been congratulated by Ministers at Stormont.