Warm welcome for Paralympic Team Ireland assured in Dublin

Jason Smyth of Ireland with his gold medal after winning the men's 100m T13 final in Rio
Jason Smyth of Ireland with his gold medal after winning the men's 100m T13 final in Rio

The Irish paralympic team has left Rio and is due to touch down in Dublin early on Wednesday afternoon.

Among the 48-strong squad are gold medal-winning runners Michael McKillop (1500m) from Co Antrim and Jason Smyth (100m) from Londonderry.

The pair helped Ireland to an impressive medal haul of four gold, four silver and three bronze and a top 30 finish in the overall medal table.

Jason suffers from Stargardt Disease – a genetic condition affecting cells in the retina leaving the sprinter with barely 10% of normal central vision.

He has covered 100 metres in 10.22 seconds, making him the fastest paralympian in history.

Michael has a mild form of cerebral palsy. His latest success followed a gold medal in the 800m at Beijing in 2008 and two more in the 800m and 1500m at London 2012.

A heroes’ welcome at Dublin airport is assured to the team containing many athletes who achieved lifetime best performances in Rio.

Ireland finished 28th in the medal table of the 76 countries taking part in the games.

Praising the athletes, Team Ireland said: “All of the hours, days, weeks, months and years of training culminated in 11 incredible days of performance, commitment and sheer determination, and as the team make their way back to Dublin, there is no doubt they have done themselves and their country extremely proud.”