Douglas Bader Foundation Supports Paratriathlon

Douglas Bader Foundation Main Pic

The Douglas Bader Foundation, a charity established by the family of the legendary double-amputee and World War Two pilot, has announced the first funding package for a sporting organisation in the Republic of Ireland.

The Foundation is supporting the paratriathlon programme in Triathlon Ireland as part of its mission to advance and promote the physical, mental and spiritual welfare of people who are affected by limb loss, or are otherwise physically disabled..

The fast growing sport of paratriathlon is dedicated to helping people with disabilities to take part in triathlons, from beginner right up to to “High Performance” levels.

Douglas Bader Foundation ambassador Paul McNeive said because of how it inspires those with disabilities, paratriathlon perfectly embodies Douglas Bader’s tradition of inspiring others to overcome their disabilities.

Catherine Walsh, Paul McNeive, Aidan McGlynn

Douglas Bader

Sir Douglas Bader was one of the legendary figures of the Second World War. Despite losing both his legs in a plane crash, he went on to become an RAF fighter ace and squadron leader. His  exploits during the war, and his continuous attempts to escape a prisoner of war camp after he was shot down, were immortalised in the book and film ‘Reach for the Sky‘. 

Like Douglas Bader, Irish businessman and motivational speaker Paul McNeive overcame the amputation of his legs to lead an extraordinary life, rising in his career to become the managing director of property company Savills and becoming the first double amputee in the world to gain a helicopter pilots licence.

Speaking on RTE Radio One’s Ryan Tubridy show, Mr McNeive said be credits much of his achievements to the life lessons he learned after becoming an amputee at the age of 20.

“When I left school I didn't think I would be good enough to be a pilot, 20 years later when I have no legs, I now decide - ‘I am going to be a helicopter pilot and it's only a matter of time, even though nobody in the world had ever done it before.”

"The potential we have is unbelievable and the sad thing about is that, not only people with disabilities but everyone, has far more potential that they never realise because they never have to dig down and really find it. For me loosing my legs was a life changing experience but it opened up entire new worlds and taught me what I could do."

Douglas Bader Group Shot 2

Huge Boost

Eamonn Tilley, Paratriathlon Technical Director with Triathlon Ireland, said the support the Douglas Bader Foundation has offering is a huge boost for the paratriathlon team. 

“With the Foundation’s help, we will be able to drive the development of paratriathlon in Ireland at all levels from juniors and our Age Group program to the High Performance team.”

Triathlon is a continuous endurance event consisting of a 750 metre swim, a 20km bike and finally  a 5km run. Triathlon Ireland is currently aiming to have two of its athletes on the starting line at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro - Catherine Walsh, who races in the women’s PT5 category and Aidan Mc Glynn, who competes in the men’s PT4 category. 

According to Eamonn Tilley, the funding provided by the Douglas Bader Foundation will help these athletes concentrate on performing to their fullest capacities in the lead-up to the Games.

“Douglas Bader’s help has come at the right time, especially when our potential Rio-bound athletes need to focus on their performance and training. The program will benefit from the expertise of key coaches, equipment and training days,” said Mr Tilley.

Douglas Bader Foundation Logo

More Information

The Douglas Bader Foundation provides a number of services to people with disabilities and anyone seeking information, applying for funding, or interested in donating should visit www.douglasbaderfoundation.co.uk

The Douglas Bader Foundation is also grant aiding Archery Ireland, who are incorporating a programme of archery for people with disabilities into their activities.  

Listen to Paul McNeive’s inspiring interview with Ryan Tubridy here: http://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=b9%5F21008463%5F20433%5F21%2D06%2D2016%5F

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