PARALYMPICS Two Irish Paralympians win gold at World Indoor Paralympics Championships

Two more Irish World Athletics Champions Crowned at World Indoor Paralympic Championships in Sweden

Irish Paralympian breaks able-bodied sprint record
Ireland’s Athens Paralympic bonze medallist at 800m Derek Malone, and sparkling teenage talent Jason Smyth of Derry both won gold medals at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Indoor Championships in Bollnas, Sweden last weekend (25th March). Smyth, one of Ireland’s most promising Paralympic athletes, remarkably broke a fourteen year old Irish able-bodied Junior record in winning the 60m final (T13 class) in a time of 6.92seconds.

In breaking this AAI able-bodied record, Smyth, who is still in school at Limavady Grammar School doing his A-levels, has pushed the boundaries of Irish Paralympic Athletics to unparalleled heights. In winning the World title Smyth beat Athens 400m gold medallist Royal Mitchell of the USA into second place. The Derry teenager is one if the first Irish athletes to be contracted to the tune of €40,000 this year, by the Irish Sports Council under the International Carding Scheme, through to the Beijing Paralympics.

Derek Malone was crowned World Champion in the 400m (36/38 class event), notably beating Athens 400m bronze medallist Stepanskoy in the process. The Clare man, who also receives €40,000 this year under an Irish Sports Council contract through to the Beijing Paralympics, has been training in South Africa over the Winter months. Malone came from second position entering the final straight to impressively clinch victory on the line in a winning time of 55.89 seconds.
The success did not stop there for the Irish as Dubliner Michael Daly won bronze in the high jump (T12 class), and Kerry’s Roy Guerin also took bronze in the 60m final (T53/54 class). James McCarthy from Limerick, also notched up a new Irish record of 11.16m in the shot putt (F57 class), in what was without doubt, a hugely successful Championships for this talented Irish squad. Their performances bode well for the oncoming outdoor season, which culminates with the IPC World Championships in Holland, beginning on August 28th2006.

Issued on behalf of the Paralympic Council of Ireland

For Further Information:
Sinéad McElroy, Irish Sports Council, 01-8608804
Julianne McKeigue, O’Herlihy Communications 01-6602744