Irish Paralympic Sailors Ready To Compete In Worlds Sailing Championships

Ireland’s paralympic sailors are ready for the challenge that awaits them when racing commences this Saturday at the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships in Williamstown, Melbourne, Australia. Among the 18 boats in the Sonar fleet, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Britain, Greece and Norway begin the Championships having already booked their place at Rio 2016. However Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Spain, the United States and the US Virgin Islands will be chasing the remaining six spots on offer, with three teams set to miss out on berths for the Games. The Irish Paralympic Sailing Team comprising John Twomey, Ian Costello and Austin O’Carroll is campaigning to qualify for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. This final qualifying event is taking place in Melbourne, Australia from November 28th to the 3rd of December 2015. The team compete in the 23 foot Sonar Class, which for Paralympic events is a two sails keelboat. The Irish team are currently ranked 5th in the world. Racing out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Williamstown, a small suburb of Melbourne, competitors are seeking to qualify for a place on the start line in the Paralymic Games in Rio, Brazil 2016. The Irish team need to secure a place in the top six overall in this championship to secure their place on the start line in Rio de Janeiro next year. Entries from over 30 countries and over 80 boats comprising 140 sailors are competing for just 35 places to participate in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil next year. The fleet of sailors across three different types of boats include 45 sailing the 2.4mR (single person boat), 18 sailing the SKUD 18 (two person boat) and 18 sailing the Sonar (three person boat). The 2.4mR the biggest fleet in Melbourne with 45 entries whilst the Two-Person Keelboat, the SKUD18, and the Three Person Keelboat, the Sonar, have 18 entries each. In total, 140 sailors and 70 coaches are in Melbourne with eyes focused on taking gold and securing a place on the Rio 2016 start line. In total, 35 athletes will book their spot at Rio 2016 in Melbourne. Seven spots in the 2.4mR, five in the SKUD18 and six in the Sonar will be up for grabs. Irish Sonar Team Crew Profiles: Ian Costello, from Killorglin Co. Kerry, has been sailing since 2009 having competed in the London 2012 Paralympic Games finishing in 7th place with several top 10 finishes including a 2nd place finish in the penultimate race. Ian is an avid sportsman partaking in several long distance cycling events as well as Gaelic football and soccer. John Twomey, from Ballinhassig Co. Cork, has been sailing since 1979, having competed in 10 Paralympic Games. Winning a Gold medal in Seoul 1988 and Bronze medal in Great Britain 1984 while throwing the discus and he has competed in the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympics in sailing. If he successfully qualifies for Rio 2016 this will be his 11th Paralympic Games. Austin O’Carroll from Dublin is a GP in Inner City Dublin. He has a deep interest in Health Inequalities. Austin has been sailing since 1983 and is pursuing his first Paralympic Games. Austin is the most recent member to join the team but has brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team. Austin is also a keen cyclist.