The 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro began on the 7th of September, and was a huge event for the athletes and staff of Paralympics Ireland, who were ecstatic to be participating in another Games.
Team Ireland comprised of 46 athletes competing across 10 sports, and before the Games, Performance Director, Dave Malone, hoped that the squad would bring home at least eight medals. He must be so proud: Team Ireland took home a stunning 11 medals across 11 days of competition.
At the fifteenth Summer Paralympic Games, Jason Smyth defended his title as the fastest Paralympian alive while Michael McKillop, Eoghan Clifford, and cycling duo Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal took Ireland’s gold medal tally to four.
Dunlevy and McCrystal also brought home one of four silvers as did Colin Lynch, Orla Barry and Niamh McCarthy.
Clifford also scored a bronze, along with swimmer Ellen Keane and 16-year-old Noelle Lenihan, securing Ireland’s spot at 28 in the medal table.
Before the Games, we caught up with four-time Paralympic gold medallist, Michael McKillop, and Bronze-medallist swimmer, Ellen Keane, who told us how National Lottery funding - through Sport Ireland - allowed them to focus on competing and getting on the road to Rio 2016.
“The funding that the National Lottery supplies through Sport Ireland has helped me amazingly over the years and throughout my swimming career. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
Ellen Keane, World Championship bronze medallist
“National Lottery and Sport Ireland funding gives me the opportunity to be a full-time athlete. My ambition is to see Paralympic sport become bigger and more ambitious for many years to come.”
Michael McKillop, World Record Holder for both the T37 800m and 1,500m