McInerney Saunders is corporate sponsor and official chartered accountants to Paralympics Ireland, and with just one year to go until London 2012 Paralympic Games gets underway,  a host of Irish Paralympic athletes are already eyeing a podium finish at the games next summer.

Four years ago in Beijing, the Irish Paralympic team returned home with five medals including three gold and that success has inspired the team to achieve even greater success at London 2012. A team of approximately 40 Irish Paralympic athletes will compete in next summer’s games.

The current Paralympics Ireland elite panel contains a number of athletes that have excelled on the world stage since Beijing.  The reigning T13 100m and 200m Paralympic champion and world record holder Jason Smyth will be out to defend his sprint titles in London and is also hoping to compete in the Olympic Games earlier in the summer.

Michael McKillop, the reigning Paralympic T37 800m champion added the 800m World title to his achievements in January of this year.  Another athlete to excel this year is Catherine O’Neill who won gold and silver at the Athletics World Championships in New Zealand.  The Wexford native is hotly tipped to contend for a podium finish in the field events in London.

In cycling Mark Rohan dominated the 2011 HC1 Road World Cup Series taking gold at all four events and on the track tandem pair Catherine Walsh and Francine Meehan took bronze at the World Track Championships in Italy.  In the pool, European 100m back stroke silver medallist Bethany Firth will be looking to replicate her 2010 form in London as will Beijing silver medallist Darragh McDonald in the 400m freestyle.

Liam Harbison, CEO of Paralympics Ireland, commented:

“With just one year to go a lot of Ireland’s top Paralympic athletes will be  serious medal contenders at next Summer’s Games.  With the Games taking place just across the water in London, the Paralympics present a great opportunity for Irish sports fans to witness elite Irish athletes perform and reach the podium in the same stadia that will host the Olympic Games next summer I urge our fans to get behind the team from the stands in London.”

Ticket pricing and the event schedule for the London 2012 Paralympic Games have just been announced.  Full price tickets for the Games start at £10 with £5 tickets available for those aged under 16 and over 60.  Individual ticket prices vary according to the sport and these range from £10 – £45.  Tickets for the Opening Ceremony on the 29th August 2012 range from £20 – £500 while tickets for the Closing Ceremony on the 9th September range from £20 – £350.  Full information on ticketing is available at www.tickets.london2012.com

Paralympics Ireland has produced a detailed ticket guide for Irish fans travelling to the Paralympic Games in London.  It is available on www.facebook.com/paralympicsireland. Please note that the Irish Paralympic Team for London 2012 will not be finalised until June 2012.