Irish medal hopefuls step up training for London 2012

Irish 200 metres record-holder Paul Hession plans to be in the shake-up with Usain Bolt and reach the business end of their events at theLondon Olympics this summer.

The Athenry athlete qualified for the games in August, clocking the A qualification time of 20.15 seconds at the Senior Track and Field Championships.

Along with Wexford swimmer Grainne Murphy, Swords native and Paralympic cyclist Catherine Walsh, Hession shared his vision of the road ahead

as he prepares to fly the Irish flag at the games.

“My goal is to be top twelve” said Hession. “There are probably 8 to 10 guys or more who are going for the last couple of spots in that final.

A lot of it is going to be on the day and if I’m in the mix on the day I can do it.

“I’ve been there before and I think I know at this stage what it’ll takes.” he added.

He made his comments at the announcement of Cadbury’s sponsorship agreement with both the Olympic Council of Ireland and Paralympics Ireland, thus becoming the Official Treat Provider to the Irish Olympic and Paralympic teams in the run up to and during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In 2008, Cadbury announced its global sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic Games, so this move comes as a natural extension to this sponsorship.

Speaking at the launch, Brian O’Sullivan, MD, Kraft Foods Ireland said “Cadbury, as one of Ireland’s best loved brands, is delighted and proud to launch this sponsorship. There has never been a more exciting time for a brand to be involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and for a brand like Cadbury to be in a position to bring a little of the Olympic spirit, and joy to our customers, the opportunity was simply too good to miss”. He continued “As a company with a large Irish manufacturing base and heritage here we are fully behind each and every Irish athlete taking part in the Games and immensely proud to play a role in their journey to London 2012”

As part of today’s launch, Cadbury also unveiled their Cadbury Ambassador Athletes for the Games – namely Paul Hession and Grainne Murphy of Team Ireland, and Catherine Walsh of Paralympics Ireland. Cadbury will work closely with these athletes over the coming months to help raise the profile not only of the athletes themselves but also to drive pride and support around participation of all Irish athletes in the Games.

As part of their sponsorship, Cadbury also plan to roll out a number of exciting initiatives over the coming weeks, which will enhance the Irish experience of the Games. These initiatives include the launch of their largest ever in-store promotion, ‘Unwrap Gold’, which will capture the imagination of Irish sporting fans everywhere and give Irish fans across Ireland the chance to win hundreds of golden vouchers to the Games hidden inside the wrappers of Cadbury Dairy Milk bars.

Pat Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland added “Team Ireland has been fortunate in its preparations for the London Olympics in having Cadbury on board as a major sponsor. This famous brand promoting and supporting our athletes to a very great degree and continues to help build public excitement and team awareness as we get ready to ‘go for gold’ in four months’ time”

Liam Harbison, CEO, Paralympics Ireland commenting on the announcement said “We are delighted that Cad bury is partnering with the 2012 Irish Paralympic Team towards this Summer’s “home Games”. Their support is of huge help, not just to Paralympic athletes like Catherine Walsh who are targeting the podium in London, but also in building the greatest-ever public support for the team”