The countdown to Rio
The countdown to the 2016 Paralympic Games to be held in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro is well and truly on, with competition kicking off from the 7th to the 18th of September.
This will be the first Paralympics Games to take place in South America, and is set to be the biggest Paralympic Games ever, featuring 526 separate medalled events along with over 4,300 athletes from 160 different nations who are all vying for a coveted spot on the podium.
For Ireland, it's a very exciting time as the last chances for qualification close off in June. From there, the team selection process will begin, with Team Ireland due to be officially announced on July 5th, 2016. It is hoped that Ireland will send a team of approximately 45 athletes who will represent their country across 10 different sports.
This year's Games also sees the addition of two new sports to the Paralympic Games cycle, with both Canoeing and Triathlon set to feature. Ireland has already secured a slot for para-canoeing at the Games, and are also hoping to be represented in triathlon.
“We are really, really looking forward to Rio and plan to bring a very strong squad over to Brazil with us,” said Ireland's Chef de Mission for this year's Games, Denis Toomey. “We have just marked the 100 days to Rio, and looking ahead, we are really hoping to see a number of lifetime best performances as well as some medals!"
Paralympics Ireland also recently announced an eight-strong media team who will be working from both their base in Rio and their headquarters in Dublin to ensure that Irish supporters and fans will get the most up to date news from the Games when they kick off this September.