Today marks 100 days until the 2016 Summer Olympic Games officially open in Rio, and staff at the Sport Northern Ireland Sports Institute are hard at work with many of Northern Ireland’s Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls as they enter into this critical qualification and preparation period.

The Sports Institute was established in 2002 and since then has provided specialist support services to Northern Ireland’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes and their coaches, in areas including sports medicine, strength and conditioning, physiology, nutrition, performance analysis, performance planning and sports psychology.

Among those athletes supported by the Institute is flyweight boxer Brendan Irvine, who secured a qualification spot for Rio at the European Olympic qualifiers in Turkey earlier this month. Brendan’s preparation for the qualifiers included a Team Ireland preparation camp hosted at the Sports Institute in February. He joins other Sports Institute-supported athletes including fellow boxers Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan and Steven Donnelly and 49er sailors Matt McGovern and Ryan Seaton in qualifying a place at the Games, with other key Olympic and Paralympic qualification events and announcements taking place in the coming weeks and months.

Commenting on the ‘100 days to go’ milestone, Sport Northern Ireland Interim Chair Brian Delaney said:

“It’s fantastic and exciting that this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games are nearly upon us, and Sport Northern Ireland is proud to be supporting athletes on the Road to Rio. The months to come will be crucial for our local athletes as they pursue their places at the Games and prepare to give the best performance they can in Rio. That’s why our staff at the Sports Institute will continue to work closely with coaches and support staff to provide tailored, athlete-centred services. As well as a fantastic sporting occasion, the Games are a wonderful catalyst for motivating people to enjoy, engage and excel in sport and I look forward to seeing our athletes representing local sport in Northern Ireland on the world stage this summer.”