A new look Irish Para Athletics Team has been announced to represent Ireland at the Para Athletics World Championships taking place in Paris next month.
The six-person team features three Paralympic veterans and three new names to Irish para-athletics. Greta Streimikyte, Mary Fitzgerald, and Orla Comerford have all represented Ireland at Paralympics Games in Tokyo with Steimikyte and Comerford having also competed at Rio 2016. Cathal Ryan, Aaron Shorten and Shauna Bocquet will make their major championships debut in Paris in just under a month’s time.
Galwegian, Shauna Bocquet, has been in excellent form as of late, posting five new personal bests in a variety of distances in Switzerland in May. She followed this up by winning the Elite Wheelchair category at the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in Dublin in June. She will line up in three races over the course of the championships: the 100m, 400m and 1500m in the T45 category.
Also making their major championships debuts are Cork’s Cathal Ryan and Aaron Shorten from Carlow both of whom have impressed on the track so far this year in their respective disciplines. Ryan will compete in the 400m (T47) with Shorten taking on the longer distance of 1500m (T20).
Gowran AC’s Mary Fitzgerald, Greta Streimikyte and Orla Comerford bolster the team with their vast experience with five Paralympic games between the trio. Streimikyte will race in her preferred event the 1500m (T13) and teammate Comerford will hope to make her mark in the 100m (T13). Fitzgerald will compete in the shot put (F40).
“There is a very nice mix of youth & experience in the team. It’s great to see the next generation of athletes already starting to make an impact on team selections. This will be a great learning experience for Shauna Bocquet T54, Cathal Ryan T46 and Aaron Shorten T20 who will compete for the first time at a Major Championship. The experience gained from the championships will stand to them in LA and beyond”, Head of Para Athletics, James Nolan said of Tuesday’s announcement.
The competition will be fierce in Paris as it always is in Para-Athletics, the biggest, most competitive paralympic sport within the Paralympic Movement in terms of the number of participating athletes and countries.