Malone targets eight medals

by Karl Graham

PARALYMPIC hero Dave Malone, from Ballinteer, has set the Irish team a target of eight medals at the Paralympic Games in Rio this September.
The gold medallist was speaking at the announcement of the Irish team at City Hall on Tuesday in his position as Performance Director where a team of 44 athletes was announced over nine different sports, with nine of these hailing from Dublin.
Malone is recognised as one of Ireland’s most successful Paralympians having represented the country at four consecutive games – Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. He won gold in the 100m backstroke in Sydney after setting a new world record that stood for over 10 years, and silver in the same event in Atlanta and Athens.
He became Performance Director for the first time in 2009 before taking up the role once more last year.
Speaking to the Gazette at the announcement, Malone was clearly delighted with how things have gone so far.
“I think the launch has been a great success this morning. We wanted to make it a very special occasion for the athletes and their families because it is a unique thing to be selected for any national team.”
The quality of performances from the athletes has increased significantly over the last few games and some of this can be attributed to the level of investment obtained, being able to provide chief medical officers, physiologists, psychologists, and professional staff across the multiple sports.
“You can see the improvement in terms of the level of investment from Sport Ireland and our sponsors, to be able to put in place adequate resources to compete at a world class level.
“I think we are moving again into unchartered territory where the performance of Paralympic sport is getting better and better all the time. In order for a small nation like Ireland, who continually punch way above our weight those, resources are absolutely essential,” said Malone.
RTE announced recently that with the support of Allianz they would be providing 30 hours of coverage on the games, a vast increase on previous tournaments, and Malone believes this will be of huge benefit to people all over Ireland.
“I think it is great that RTE have come onboard to show live coverage and programming every evening; it opens up a brand new audience in Ireland, who have been very supportive of the Paralympic squad over the last number of games.
“Certainly, after the success of London, I think in terms of all the different media platforms getting onboard and supporting the athletes, it will hopefully inspire future generations of athletes who will watch Paralympic sports for the very first time.”

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