Jason, Greta and Orla to compete at World IPC Athletics Championships in London next week

Jason, Greta and Orla to compete at World IPC Athletics Championships in London next week

Author: Joe/Wednesday, July 05, 2017/Categories: Events, Athletics, Paralympics

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Paralympics Ireland has announced a team of ten for the 2017 Para Athletics World Championships which are set to take place in the iconic London Olympic stadium from July 14th until 23rd inclusive. The team includes three vision impaired athletes: Jason Smyth, Greta Streimikyte and Orla Comerford.

In total the Irish team boasts five Paralympic medallists and all ten athletes competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Led by multiple Paralympic gold medallists and defending World champions Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop this experienced team also features Cork's trio of throwing Paralympic medallists Noelle Lenihan, Orla Barry and Niamh McCarthy.

All five secured podium finishes at the last World Championships in 2015, as did Deirdre Mongan who is also named. Middle distance runner Greta Streimikyte will make her World Championship debut, as will Dublin sprinter Orla Comerford. Meath man Paul Keogan will race over 200m and 400m with Kildare wheelchair racer set to challenge over 800m and 1500m, as his favoured event; the marathon is not on the London programme.

For the first time ever both the World Para Athletics Championships, and the IAAF World Championships will be held in the same city in the same summer across twenty days making it the world's biggest sporting event of 2017.

The Para Championships precede its able-bodied equivalent getting underway on July 14th, and already over 230,000 tickets have been sold for the Para Athletics World Championships making it by far the biggest in the event's history.

Speaking at the announcement Irish team manager James Nolan said: 'It's a great honour to lead such an experienced and talented group of athletes. The team has progressed dramatically over the last number of years through their own hard work, and that of their home coaches in addition to the support we've been able to provide.

The athletes will undoubtedly enjoy performing in front of what is set to be a massive crowd, that will include many Irish supporters.Medals are incredibly tough to secure at World level but this group of athletes have done it before so will certainly be aiming for that podium again in London.'

Jason Smyth is the reigning Paralympic 100m & 200m and World Record holder in each. Jason was “discovered” at our 2005 May Games at ALSAA, beside Dublin Airport. In May 2017 Jason returned for what we now call MayFest to help out in the promotional and organizational side. Jason joined the Board of Vision Sports Ireland as Director of Strategy and Development last January.

In 2014, Jason also won double gold at IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Wales and went on to scoop the T12 100m title at the World Championships in Doha in 2015. Jason was also crowned “Fastest Paralympian On The Planet” when he won at the Rio 'One year to Go' celebration event.

At the Rio Paralympic Games he added yet more medals to his collection by claiming gold in the 100m event, with a time of 10.64. The 200m event was removed from the Paralympic Games programme following London 2012.

Greta Streimikyte  is a past pupil of Rosmini Community School in Drumcondra and is member of Clonliffe Harriers Athletics Club, Greta made her debut for the Irish Para-Athletics team in June 2016 when she competed in the IPC Athletics European Championships in Grosseto, Italy. There, she competed in the T13 1,500m final and came home with a bronze medal after a fantastic run.

At the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games she placed third in her heat and advanced to the final where she ran a lifetime best time of 4:45.06 finishing an impressive fourth place; a tremendous achievement.

Greta was a guest of Vision Sports at MayFest 2017 and also attended our post Rio reception with NCBI last December.

A student of International Relations in DCU, Greta started her running career thanks to her parents. Originally from Lithuania she is a triplet and has a condition called retinopathy brought about by being in a incubator at birth. She moved to Ireland in 2010 and became an Irish citizen in 2015.

Orla Comerford  is a Raheny Shamrocks club member and completed her Leaving Cert in 2016 and went from one big test directly into another as she represented Ireland at the Paralympic Games in Rio.

Orla came 4th and achieved a personal best in Paralympic competition during her 100m heats with a time of 12.81, securing herself a place in the T13 100m finals. In the finals she placed 8th with a time of 12.87. This experience will stand to Orla as she continues to compete.

Orla was a guest of Vision Sports at our joint reception with NCBI last December.

Orla cites fellow T13 athlete Jason Smyth along with Derval O'Rourke as her inspirations.

Full Irish schedule and profiles available on www.paralympics.ie/competitions

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