The Union Cycliste Internationale under the Presidency of Pat McQuaid gave Irish cycling a real jolt during the week with the announcement that Ireland had qualified four representatives for the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing in the Autumn. Naturally the Paralympic Council of Ireland (PCI) were cock-a-hoop with the news as was Cycling Ireland.

Whilst at the moment, Ireland have two representatives and one mountainbiker for the Olympic Games in August. Also the prospects of David O’Loughlin from Cong, Co. Mayo making the team for the Trackis very much on course. Currently he is Los Angeles at the third round of the World Track Championships.

In esence the medal winning performances by the Irish Squad at last November’s Pan American Championships in Colombia gave the PCI a real fillip. When you think of it prior to the championships only one bike had made the cut.

Irish Paralympic Cycling Manager Denis Toomey said today “To come from a single male qualification slot for Athens in 2004 to three male and one female in 2008 has been a phenomenal leap. It justifies the great support given to the squad by the Irish Sports Council, the Paralympic Council of Ireland, Cycling Ireland and everyone else who came to our aid to ensure we travelled and competed at all the ranking events. It is a major credit to their level of professionalism and commitment of the athletes and coaches shown especially during the last year,” said Denis.

The main contenders for the places on the Beijing Squad include:-

Visually Impaired rider Michael Delaney with Tandem Pilot David Peelo Visually Impaired rider Catherine Walsh with Tandem Pilot Joanna Hickey

Locomotor Disorder (Arm amputee) rider Cathal Miller

Cerebral Palsy rider Enda Smyth

Final team selection will be announced by the PCI in June.


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