The final Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games team was unveiled on Friday 10 September at a grand ceremony in the Waterfront Hall. The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council officially announced the 81 athletes that will travel to Delhi in India for the upcoming 2010 Commonwealth Games set to take place from 3-14 October. At Delhi, 71 teams will compete in over 17 sports and four Para Sports. The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Team is supported by Sport Northern Ireland whilst a number of athletes are part of the Sports Institute Northern Ireland (SINI).
Also launched is the new Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council website which is currently being developed. A sneak preview is available to view at www.nicgc.org. Over the coming days it will provide information relating to athletes, venues, competition schedules etc. You will also be able to keep up to date with the latest news by joining us on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.
Most of the team participated in a residential weekend which included team building along with key talks and information ahead of departing for the Games on the 27 September. There are a number of high profile athletes included in the team, many who have had a successful summer ahead of the Games which has acted as good preparation for them.
Madeline Perry was the first Irish woman to win an Australian title when winning the Australian Open, one of the major tournaments in squash, beating world number two Jenny Duncalf in the semi-finals with a performance she described as the best of her career. This was the seventh title of Perry's career and she is currently positioned 6th in the world rankings. Perry also won the Irish Open for the fourth time in August.
Paddy Barnes was recently crowned European amateur champion when he won the gold medal at light-flyweight in Moscow. Barnes is only the sixth Irish boxer to secure gold at the championships and the first in 19 years. With an Olympic bronze from Beijing, the fiery light-flyweight is looking forward to the Commonwealth Games.
Northern Ireland's most successful athlete, quadruple Gold medalist (shooting) David Calvert, won the HM The Queen's Prize at Bisley in July. He has placed second on three previous occasions but in an impressive display of shooting, he beat off challenges from Jim Corbett of Benalla, Australia, and Surrey's Paul Kent.
In swimming, young Portaferry sensation Sycerika McMahon took bronze in the 400m freestyle final at the European Junior Championships in Helenski. She followed this up by taking gold in the 400m freestyle at the British Youth Swimming Championships in a new Irish Junior record time of 4.15.86. The Commonwealth Games will offer the teenager invaluable experience of competing on an international stage.
Another Portaferry teenager who made the athletic headlines in July was middle distance ace Ciara Mageean. She ran the race of her life over 1500m in Canada to win a World Junior Silver Medal in a new personal best time of 4.09.51. Her time of 4 minutes 9.51 seconds obliterated her existing Irish Junior record by almost 6 seconds and also set a new Northern Ireland 1500m record. Winner of the race was Ethiopia's Tizita Bogale who had to set a PB of 4.08.06 to stay ahead of the Portaferry girl.
DCAL Minister Nelson McCausland who was at the Waterfront ceremony said, "I would like to take this opportunity to convey my warmest congratulations to each member of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth team on their selection. This is a wonderful achievement brought about through their hard work and dedication. The contribution of the coaches and support staff has also been key in getting the team to this point."
Robert McVeigh, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council said, "The twelve sports represented on the Northern Ireland team are making their final preparations to compete in Delhi. Members of the headquarters staff will be departing at the end of next week.
We have a team with a mix of experience and youth - the best competitors we believe from Northern Ireland in their chosen sport. I know the public here will join with me taking an interest in those from our streets and districts competing in Delhi."
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For further information please contact Clare McCoy on 028 9060 6964 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cgcni.org.uk