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'It's like cramming for an exam by the end of it!' - Six months to go as Team Ireland eye Tokyo 2020

The countdown is well and truly on to the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Ireland Paralympic hopeful Ronan Grimes.
Ireland Paralympic hopeful Ronan Grimes.
Image: Harry Murphy/SPORTSFILE

SIX MONTHS TO go.

It all started getting more and more real at Paralympics Ireland’s media event at the Sport Ireland campus this afternoon.

Today marks exactly six months to go to the opening ceremony of the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which run from 25 August to 6 September.

“The turn of the year was when it really starting hitting reality that it’s 2020,” Patrick Monahan, a star wheelchair athlete who competed at Rio 2016, tells The42. 

“It’s flying in now. There’s a lot that hopefully can stay on our side, but hopefully it’s all smooth.”

It’s being reported today that Tokyo 2020 is at risk of cancellation if the fast-spreading coronavirus is not contained by the end of May. Test events have been postponed due to the recent spread of the Covid-19 virus, but organisers are working hard to avoid disruptions in the summer.

For now, it’s full steam ahead with preparations and qualification bids.

“I got a big PB last year which put me in a really strong position,” Kildare native Monahan added. “I’ve done what I can. It comes down to slots and we’ll know more in June, but I’d be very confident that I’ll be fine.”

paralympics-ireland-tokyo-2020-6-months-to-go Patrick Monahan at today's launch. Source: Harry Murphy/SPORTSFILE

Fresh from his Para Cycling Track World Championship bronze medal, Monahan’s fellow Paralympic hopeful Ronan Grimes was also counting down the weeks.

“Like anything, you always think the event you’re going to do is miles away and then it turns out like you’re cramming for an exam by the end of it! Six months is not too long to go really,” the Galway man said.

“I’m looking forward to… at the moment I’m working full-time around training but come May, I’ll be taking a bit of unpaid leave from work. Really, it’s going to be great to get into complete focus, and commitment and dedication to training full-time.”

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“Ever since I first sat in the saddle of my bike I have dreamt about qualifying for the Paralympic Games and representing my country,” he added. “I am in a good place personally after winning bronze at the Para Track World Championships in Canada last month and I feel like there is more to come from me.”

(We’ll have in-depth reads with both Monahan and Grimes on The42 in the coming days.)

Some 4,400 athletes from around 170 countries are set to take part in the Tokyo Games across August and September with 540 coveted gold medals up for grabs across 22 sports.

A 48-strong Team Ireland brought home 11 medals — four of those gold — from Rio last time out, and finished 28th on the medal table, two places inside their top-30 target.

As part of today’s event, all partners of Paralympics Ireland came together to mark the milestone and partake in the first-ever partners workshop, which provided everyone with key information ahead of the Games.

The Irish team will depart for Tokyo on 10 August from Dublin Airport to the holding camp which will be in Narita City, 71km from the Olympic Stadium.

They’ll stay there until 18 August, before moving to the Athletes Village in Tokyo. The cycling team’s holding camp will be in Masuda, while their Olympic accomodation is situated between Izu (track events) and the Fuji Speedway (road event).

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About the author:

Emma Duffy

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