Allianz Blog Paralympics

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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Jason Smyth Reflects on Rio Countdown

In the past four weeks I’ve been racing in a lot of able-bodied competitions, including the European Championships in Amsterdam, from which I’ve just returned. First came the National Championships in Santry, where I won the 100m. It was four years since I’d competed at them, so it was long overdue and great to be there and win a title. I won the 100m once before (2011) and it is very satisfying because I don’t know how many Paralympic athletes have won their able-bodied national championships.

For me, that’s part of my philosophy; to show that you can achieve whatever you want to achieve. Just because I can’t see very...

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Ellen Keane Overwhelmed by Support

IT’S just two weeks since Paralympics Ireland formally announced the team for Rio and somehow it made everything a bit more real. It kinda hit home just how quickly they’re coming now! They held the team announcement at Dublin City Hall. It was great to have it in such a historic and beautiful building and my mom and dad came to it. Our chef de mission Denis (Toomey) introduced each athlete one-by-one and did it alphabetically. That meant us swimmers were last out. Just as he got to us Hayley, our team manager, decided to get a really funny photo of us all together and, for some reason, it’s been circulating everywher...

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Rio Paralympics 2016 Blog: Jason Smyth

For the past two and a half years I’ve been living and training in London with my coach Clarence Callender, who has a sprints group based at Lee Valley, one of the top tracks in England.

A lot of sprint groups head to Florida at this time of year for better weather and high quality training and racing and that is where I am right now. We came out here at the start of April to train at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Orlando.

A track is a track but this is Disney so the complex is huge! You name the sport and they can cater for it, I think they’ve got 34 different fields. The Invictus Games (a mu...

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People Think You’re on a Holiday - Ellen Keane

I’m just back from a 10-day warm-weather training camp in Fuerteventura with my club (NAC) in Dublin. It was at the same sports hotel that the Irish Paralympics team use – I’ll be out there again with them in August – but this was the first time I went there with my club.

There was about 30 of us. People think you’re away on a holiday, they have no idea! We trained two hours every morning and two hours every evening, with a gym session in between every few days. You’re not allowed to sunbathe and, even if you were, you couldn’t, because you’re so tired to do anything except swim, eat and sleep.

It’s a really nice resort...

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Coming Back is Tough - Michael McKillop

It’s called ‘Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?’ by Ben Hunt-Davis, an Olympic gold medallist who was part of a British rowing eight and it’s a book for people who want to achieve better in their lives, not just in sport. He talks about the things he used to achieve his Olympic dream.

 I know that I’ve been able to achieve my Paralympic dream already but whenever you’ve been out of the game for so long – or been hit badly like I have with injuries in the last few years - coming back into racing is tough.

I really feel I’ve made great progress in the past month. Not only have I got in another four weeks of consistent train...

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