WHEN Irish athlete Nadine Lattimore steps on to the London Paralympic field this Wednesday it will be a big day for her and best friend, Quartz.
The 28-year-old shot putter from Baldoyle, north Co Dublin, will compete in the visual impairment category with the first-ever guide dog on an Irish Paralympic team.
Nadine is a full-time athlete and holds the Irish record for shot put in the visual impairment category with a throw of 7.68 metres.
She lost her sight seven years ago while studying to be an outdoor sports instructor at Colaiste Dhulaigh in Dublin.
Nadine and Quartz, a German Shepherd/Golden Retriever cross, underwent an intensive course together before the Games with the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind (IGDB) charity in Cork.
Nadine is hoping to increase Ireland's already impressive tally of medals when she competes in the shot put on Wednesday.
She decided to get involved with Paralympic sport after the Beijing Games and hopes London 2012 will be the next step in a promising career. She will be cheered on there by her fiancé Stuart Lawler. Stuart's sister Ciara Lawler told the Irish Independent last night: "We are all just so proud of Nadine. She is a fantastic person."