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Inspirational Donnacha focussed on getting to Tokyo

March 19th, 2020 5:05 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Irish para-athlete Donnacha McCarthy, right, and guide Eamonn Tilley.

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DRIMOLEAGUE man Donnacha McCarthy is aiming to become Ireland’s second ever para-triathlete in a paralympic games.

Kingspan – that company that makes high-performance insulation and building envelope solutions – has just announced a sponsorship deal to help Donnacha achieve his goal of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Although the West Cork man has only been competing in para-triathlons since 2017, he has, in that short time, won national titles in 2018 and 2019.

He was also named 2019 Para Athlete of the Year by Triathlon Ireland, and was a bronze medallist in the 2018 World Paratriathlon Cup.

Donnacha lost his sight aged just 10 following a battle with leukaemia and now competes with the support of a guide.

This means the pair are tethered for the running and swimming parts of a race and use a tandem bike for the cycling section.

The Olympic hopeful will be stepping up his training over the coming months in a bid to secure his spot among the Irish contingent for the Summer games, which begin in August.

If he is successful, it will be the latest in a long line of achievements for Donnacha, in an already remarkable journey in coming to terms with, and overcoming, the loss of his sight.

Donnacha McCarthy said he appreciates the fact that Kingspan is supporting him in his goal and expressed the hope of coming home with a medal.

With a rigorous training and competition programme in place for the next couple of months, Donnacha said: ‘It is reassuring to know I have their support in the background, allowing me to focus on qualifying and getting on that plane to Tokyo.’

Gene Murtagh, Kingspan chief executive told The Southern Star: ‘Donnacha is a superb athlete ... his story is inspiring, competing in a hugely challenging discipline and maintaining his focus on qualifying for the Tokyo games.

‘We’re looking forward to keeping track of Donnacha’s progress through the qualification events and sincerely hope to see him succeed in Tokyo come August.’

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