Allianz Blog Paralympics

London Bound for the Para Athletics World Championships

Allianz Brand Ambassadors Jason Smyth and Michael Mckillop lead an experienced Irish team to the 2017 Para Athletics World Championships in London’s Olympic stadium.

The Irish team boasts five Paralympic medallists and all ten athletes competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Led by multiple Paralympic gold medallists and defending World champions Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop this experienced team also features Cork's trio of throwing Paralympic medallists Noelle Lenihan, Orla Barry and Niamh McCarthy.

The Para Championships precede its able-bodied equivalent getting underway on July 14th, and already over 230,00...

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Mark Rohan on Move to UCFB Sports College

Since graduating with an MBA in Sports Management from Madrid last month I’ve moved to UCFB, a sports college based in Wembley Stadium, for a six-week internship. But, in between, I was briefly in Portugal as I recently bought an orange farm in Messines, an agricultural town about 20 minutes’ drive from Albuferia in the Algarve. It hasn’t been lived in for 20 years so it needs a lot of work – it’s definitely a long-term project!

The plan is to design an environmentally-friendly sports retreat for high performance individuals and teams, with a holistic approach centred around the athlete or individual. I first went to P...

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Exciting Few Weeks for Michael McKillop

It has been a very exciting few weeks, starting with Paralympic Ireland’s ‘More Than Sport’ fundraising ball in Dublin in early July. I don’t think Paralympic sport in Ireland ever had an event like it before and it was a fantastic night. Companies came and paid serious money for a table, and there was an auction too where people were bidding thousands of euros. I don’t think the awareness of Paralympic sport would have been big enough before to present an evening like that, so it was really amazing to see people willing to support us like that. They may not even understand the value of that money to our sport but I r...

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Final Preperations for Michael McKillop

I’m leaving for the Paralympics on August 31 with a group of my teammates. Paralympics Ireland gave us a choice of three departure dates and they have a holding camp in Uberlandia beforehand, but I’m one of those flying straight to the athletes’ village because I feel 11 days will be enough to acclimatise and prepare. I only have one event - the T37 1500m – in Rio. I won the 800m and 1500m in London but, since then, the international body (IPC) decided there isn't room on the programme to allow a T37-38 800m. They want to encourage more female participation in Paralympic sport and have increased the number of events f...

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Ellen Keane Enjoying a Normal Life Again

Since the Paralympics I guess you could say I am living a ‘normal’ life again. I’m back in college and got lucky with my timetable. I only have class on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays this term which means four-day weekends! Immediately after the Games I got away for a week’s holiday in Gran Canaria with my boyfriend and that was a nice distraction because, as much as I wanted to be at home and soaking up all the post-Games celebrations, it probably would have been a bit of an anti-climax in one way. This way I didn’t feel any slump at all.

Before I went away myself and (discus medallist) Niamh McCarthy were on the...

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Ellen Keane on Winning a Medal in Rio

In the lead-in to Rio I was just so nervous and I think all that nervous energy and frustration was exhausting me. Even though I was tapered and ready to compete I was so tired all the time and so nervous. I think that showed in my 200m IM. But when it came to the breaststroke I wanted to win my heat and that’s what I did. That kind of relaxed me a bit more and set me up for the final.

I know the other two girls who medalled with me really well. I spent two years in boarding school in England and Claire (Cashmore, silver medallist) used to swim there. She wasn’t there when I was there but there’s a group of Paralympian...

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