Michael D gives Aras send-off to Team Ireland
HE'S now officially part of Team Ireland.
President Michael D Higgins was presented with his own personalised team jacket when he received members of the Dwarf Sports Association of Ireland team to Aras an Uachtarain yesterday.
Mother-and-daughter team, Ann and Sinead Keon, were among those who visited before they travel to Michigan, USA, to participate in the World Dwarf Games next week.
President Higgins and his wife Sabina welcomed the team into their home after Sinead wrote to the President to tell him about Ireland's participation in the games.
Sinead (16) will be participating in the sixth World Dwarf Games next week, and is also hoping to participate in the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
"As my main sports I am doing table tennis, discus, javelin, shot put, 100 meters, and then I am also doing badminton mixed doubles with one of our world champions."
She presented President Higgins with his own personalised team jacket, and he joked that he was planning on losing some weight to ensure it fits.
"I have my mind made up – you won't recognise me in the autumn," he said.
The 13-member Irish contingent will also be represented in the games in football, hockey and boccia.
Ann Keon is heavily involved in coaching the team. "Most of the coaching staff are parents," she said. "We get no funding from outside so we really had to do everything ourselves."
President Higgins wished the team, their families, and 45 supporters that are travelling over, the best of luck.
"For any athlete that represents their country, it must be the greatest achievement," he said.