Disability Sport NI has welcomed the £1 million four-year investment in disability sports that was announced yesterday by the Department for Communities.
Chief Executive Kevin O’Neill said: “We are delighted and it is fitting that this funding is being awarded on the day of the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Rio. We have nine athletes competing in the Games, the most ever from Northern Ireland and we are immensely proud of all of them. “
“This funding will secure our future for the next four years, allowing us to help to develop elite athletes and also, just as importantly, introduce more and more people with disability to the joy of taking part in sport.”
Currently people with disabilities are less than half as likely to take up sport than the rest of the population. Disability Sport NI addresses that by providing opportunities for all to get involved in sport regardless of their disabilities. It also provides support and coaching for elite Paralympians who go on to compete for either Ireland or Great Britain.
The invesment, which was announced by the Minister for Communities, Paul Givan, coincided with the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil. There are nine Northern Irish athletes competing at the Games for both Paralympics Ireland and ParalympicsGB. You can check out each athlete's profile, as well as a detailed schedule of when local atheltes will be in action, in our News section.
As part of the launch of the welcome investment, members of the u19 Northern Ireland Wheelchair Basketball team put on a demonstration alongside Kevin O'Neill (Disability Sport NI CEO) and John News (Participation Revenue Manager at Sport Northern Ireland).