Last night was the opening ceremony to the London 2012 Paralympics games, and what a spectacular opening, beginning with a segment depicting the Big Bang, appearances from Sir Ian McKellen and Professor Stephen Hawking’s and a massive 3,000 volunteers taking part.
Opened officially by the Queen, this is the first time that her royal highness has opened both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Amongst the world’s Paralympians who took part in opening celebrations were Ireland’s 49 athletes all aiming for Gold across the 10 sporting disciplines that they are competing in.
The largest Paralympian team for Ireland since the Paralympics in Atlanta in 1996, the team are looking to match or better their medal tally from Beijing 2008 where they won 3 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze.
With five world champions in the Irish team including 2 reigning Paralympic Champions; Jason Smyth ( who took gold in 100 metres and 200 metres in Beijing) and Mike McKillop (who took gold in 800 metres in Beijing and is world champion for 1,500 metres), Ireland is a strong position to surpass expectations.
We are looking forward to all the action and to cheering on all 49 competitors; from the eldest of the team, Sailor John Twomey (56), competing in his 10th Paralympics to the youngest, Heather Jameson (15) competing within the 100m, 200m and long jump in the cerebral palsy category.
Good Luck to all Ireland’s competitors, we will bring news of their successes throughout the Paralympics.