By Shane Stokes
Four cyclists and two sighted pilot riders have been confirmed as travelling to Beijing to contest the 2008 Paralympic Games there. Locomotor Disorder (Arm amputee) rider Cathal Miller, Cerebral Palsy rider Enda Smyth, and visually impaired competitors Michael Delaney and Catherine Walsh will fly to China prior to the September sixth start, with David Peelo and Joanna Hickey joining up with the latter two for their tandem races.
The Irish Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Mr. Martin Cullen spoke at the announcement held on Thursday, which confirmed the 45 athletes on the Irish team. He congratulated their selection, saying that, "very few of us get the opportunity to represent our country on the International stage. It's a tremendous honour that the athletes, their families and friends should be very proud of. I have no doubt that they will be great ambassadors for our country."
In addition to the four cyclists and two pilot riders, this comprises ten track and field athletes, one archer, four Boccia players, twelve footballers, six swimmers, five sailors, two table tennis players, and one dressage rider.
The Irish cyclists will be sponsored by An Post, which also backs the An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team plus the green jersey competition in the Tour of Ireland.