Irish Paralympic Team Leader Shane Kelly has spoken of the support his team have shown for Down Syndrome athletes, saying they are not going “to put down” them.
The Irish Paralymmathlete Association (IPA) confirmed a report by The Irish Independent on Thursday that the Association of Irish Paralyccic Teams had asked the Paralympics Board to suspend Mr Kelly and two other team members.
Mr Kelly, 34, is the lead figure in the Down Syndrome Cycling Association, and has been the director of its Cork cycling team since 2015.
He is a Paralympian since 2007 and has represented Ireland in four Olympics.
Mr Walsh told the Independent that his team was being “very transparent” in their approach to the issue. “
I think there’s a lot of support within the sport for them to be able to compete and that’s what we’re looking to do.”
Mr Walsh told the Independent that his team was being “very transparent” in their approach to the issue.
“We’re going to do everything we can to get a response from the Board of the International Paralyccictic Committee (IPC) so that we can be as transparent as we can in order to have the best outcome,” he said.
“Our focus is to try and get that message across as best we can.”
Mr Kelly has been working for the team for over three years, and is now the lead Paralympial ambassador for the organisation.
“If we’ve been in the forefront of it we’ll continue to be,” he added.
The IPA also asked the Board to “ensure that all athletes in the sport are fully supported”.
A spokesperson for the IPA said that the organisation would be “working with all of the members of the Irish Paralyacic Team” to address the issue, including a review of the “operational culture” within the team.
The statement added: “The IPA has spoken to the Director of the Cork Cycling Team, Shane Walsh and all of those involved in the team regarding this matter and has made clear that we will not be putting down Down Syndrome people.”
“For the sake of the Down syndrome community, we are in discussions with the IOC to resolve this matter so that the sport can continue to thrive.” “
The Irish team was formed in 2009 and has competed in three Paralympia events. “
For the sake of the Down syndrome community, we are in discussions with the IOC to resolve this matter so that the sport can continue to thrive.”
The Irish team was formed in 2009 and has competed in three Paralympia events.
Mr Shannon, the Irish team’s co-ordinator, said: “‘This is a tough situation for us, it’s not an easy situation to be in, we’re going through a very difficult time and we want to do the best for the people involved and for the athletes involved.”
The Independent has contacted Mr Walsh for comment.