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25
Irish Paralympic Sailors, John Twomey, Ian Costelloe and Austin O’Carroll set off for Melbourne, Australia to compete in the 2015 Para Worlds Sailing Championships for a place on the start line in Rio next year. 

The Irish Paralympic Sailing Team comprising of John Twomey, Ian Costello and Austin O'Carroll are campaigning to qualify for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. The final qualifying event takes place in Melbourne Australia from November 28th to the 3rd of December 2015.



The team will compete in the 23 foot Sonar Class, which for Paralympic events is a two sails keelboat.  The Irish team came 3rd in the ISAF sailing world-cup in Weymouth June 2015 and are currently ranked 5th in the world.

The Irish team will spend nearly four weeks in Australia as part of the qualifying preparation for the RIO 2016 Paralympic Games. The 2015 Para World Sailing Championships hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria will take place in Williamstown, Victoria, Australia. This event is the final qualifier for the RIO 2016 Paralympic Games.

Entries from over 30 countries and over 80 boats comprising 140 sailors will be 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).

Racing out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Williamstown, a small suburb of Melbourne, competitors will be gunning for the final Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition with the stakes as high as they could possibly be.

The 2.4mR will be the biggest fleet in Melbourne with 45 entries. Whilst the Two-Person Keelboat, the SKUD18, and the Three Person Keelboat and the Sonar, have 18 entries each. In total, 140 sailors and 70 coaches will be in Melbourne with eyes focused on taking gold and securing a place on the Rio 2016 start line.

Irish Sonar Team Crew Profiles: 

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. 

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. 

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.

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.Teams from Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Spain, USA and the US Virgin Islands will be on the start line aiming to reach Rio.

Racing in the Sonar is scheduled to commence at 13:00 on Saturday 28 November.
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