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INPHO/Cathal Noonan Middle distance hope Michael McKillop.
# London 2012
Gold run: Irish paralympics team announced for London
A 49-strong Irish team was announced for this summer’s London 2012 Paralympic Games, which kicks off 29 August.

THE COUNTDOWN IS well and truly on for this summer’s London 2012 Paralympic Games.

This afternoon, a 49-strong Irish team was announced for the event which kicks off 29 August.

Double champion Jason Smyth will get the chance to defend his titles as he’s been included.

“The Irish team aim to achieve great personal and collective success at the Games,” said performance director, Nancy Chillingworth.

“The performances of the athletes in the qualification phase demonstrate that the performance targets for the Irish team of five medals and 15 finalists set by the Beijing Review) are realistic and achievable.  We’ve planned meticulously to ensure the correct environment is in place around each athlete at the Games to facilitate their optimum performance.”

Some 20 different counties are represented in a team which will compete in 10 sports in the English capital. There are five reigning world champions in athletics and cycling and two defending Paralympic champions – Smyth and Michael McKillop, pictured — amongst their number.

Paralympics Ireland chief executive, Liam Harbison, commented:

“Today’s team announcement is the culmination of a huge effort by everyone involved in Paralympic sport in Ireland.  The preparation, coordination and management of the Irish Team is a huge task, which would not have been possible without the continuing support of the Irish Sports Council, Sport NI and our sponsors and partners.  Their support has enabled us to prepare 49 athletes to compete and excel at the London2012 Paralympic Games. It’s time for us to make a return on the faith and investment placed in us by them all – we aim to deliver.”

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Preparations will continue with the athletes now attending a training camp in Antrim.

Jessie Barr through to final of 400m hurdles finals in Helsinki

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