Nine Irish athletes hoping to triumph at Paralympic World Championships

Nine Irish athletes hoping to triumph at Paralympic World Championships

NINE Irish athletes will be fighting for world titles and Rio 2016 qualification when the Paralympic World Championships kick off in Doha today.

Over the next 10 days, around 1,300 athletes from 100 countries will compete in the biggest ever International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships.

Among Ireland’s hopefuls are triple Paralympic champion Michael McKillop (T37 class), who will aim to defend his 800m and 1500m titles in Qatar, and two-time Paralympic medallist Jason Smyth (T13 Class), who will only compete in the 100m following a long recovery from knee surgery.

Ahead of the tournament, Smyth said: “It’s been a long year rehabilitating from surgery so I’m hoping I can end it on a high.

“I realised last year I have got to be one hundred percent, I can’t be running at ninety or even ninety five percent and apply maximum force so I’ve spent a lot of time getting over those injury problems and now it’s a case of continuing to put in the work and building on it over the next few months.”

London 2012 Paralympic medallist discus thrower Orla Barry (F56/57 Class) joins the ranks, alongside three-time Paralympian and wheelchair racer at 100m and 400m, John McCarthy (T51 Class).

Shot putter Deirdre Mongan (F53 Class) – who set a new Irish record of 4.26m in July – will also be carrying the Irish hopes, as will discus throwers Noelle Lenihan (F37/38 Class) and Niamh McCarthy (F40/41 class), who will both be making their championship debuts for Ireland.

Also competing in the tournament for the first time are javelin thrower Lorraine Regan (F55/56) and shot-putter and Hayley Fitzsimons (F40 Class).