Paralympic gold medallist Bethany Firth switches camp to Britain
Gold medallist Bethany Firth has switched allegiance from Ireland to Great Britain, writes Mark O'Driscoll.
The 17-year-old, from Seaforde in County Down, won the 100m backstroke at the London Games last year and followed that up with three silvers at the World Championships in Montreal in the summer.
"It is with regret that Paralympics Ireland acknowledges the decision by Bethany Firth to change nationality to Team GB," said Paralympics Ireland.
"We would like to express our gratitude to her for all that she has achieved in her time competing with Team Ireland. It is always a moment of great pride for Team Ireland when the athletes in whom we have invested so much energy, time and training achieve such great results as those achieved by Bethany.
"Bethany's progress under the Paralympics Ireland High Performance Swimming Programme since joining us serves as a shining example of the potential within us all to achieve greatness.
"Bethany was one of the success stories of London 2012 for Team Ireland, winning as she did our first gold medal of the Games.
"We have no doubt that she would have delivered further success and been an exemplary role model for Team Ireland over the next three years and beyond.
"Ultimately, this is a personal decision for Bethany and we wish her all the very best in the future."