Paul O’Connell calls in as athletes try to reach gold standard at UL

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

WITH the sequel to the London Olympic Games now just weeks away, the Vietnamese Paralympic team has set up its base at the University of Limerick.

WITH the sequel to the London Olympic Games now just weeks away, the Vietnamese Paralympic team has set up its base at the University of Limerick.

And to welcome them to the city, Limerick members of the Post Polio Support Group decided to cook for them.

Of the 11 people who will represent the southeast Asian nation in London, nine of them are polio sufferers.

Because of this, a banquet was arranged in their honour on Friday last at the Strand Hotel.

Munster legend and Freeman of Limerick Paul O’Connell also popped in to say hello.

As the athletes gathered at the Strand, the hotel’s Malaysian chef prepared some southeast Asian cuisine to make them feel right at home.

Mayor of Limerick Cllr Gerry McLoughlin also took time out of his schedule to meet the athletes, who will take part in the London Paralympic Games next month.

Blaise O’Hara of the Post Polio Support Group said: “Polio survivors everywhere know how hard it can be to survive polio and the struggle that follows to live a normal life so it is wonderful to be able to welcome the Paralympians to Limerick.”

Team Vietnam has 16 people, including the chief de mission, four trainers and 11 athletes.

Other people welcoming them to Limerick included the Munster rugby team who met them at their training ground.

Vietnam’s participation in the Paralympic Games started in the year 2000 at the Sydney games.

Sending just two competitors there, their team has grown more than five-fold. They will hope to break their medals duck in the English capital.