Sports Minister Paul Givan, MLA visited the Performance Development Centre (PDC) in Lisburn today to meet with swimmer Bethany Firth.
Bethany was taking part in a training session at the centre as she prepares to go to Rio to participate in the Paralympics in September. The Minister said: “Seeing Bethany train today makes you appreciate the effort that these young men and women put into their training when preparing for competitions. To qualify to represent your country at the Olympics or Paralympics is a fantastic achievement.
“Sport has a positive impact on our lives, both physically and mentally so I am particularly pleased that we have such great role models and ambassadors to encourage young people to participate. Of course, sport also impacts on our economy and tourism particularly with Northern Ireland attracting big sporting events such as the Irish Open, Women’s Rugby World Cup and the North West 200. ”
Northern Ireland will be well represented at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio this year. Thirty one athletes have been selected for the Olympic Games and ten athletes have been selected for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The Department, through Sport NI and the Sports Institute NI, provides ongoing support to these athletes in their preparations for, and during, the Rio Games.
The Rio Games provides another opportunity for members of our communities, regardless of age or ability, to be inspired to participate in sport. The Olympics commence in Rio this Friday and the Paralympics commence on 7 September.
The Minister concluded: “To all the athletes from Northern Ireland competing in both competitions, I wish them all the best. I hope they all have a successful and safe games.”