Firth to compete for Team GB

Published Thursday, 19 December 2013
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Paralympic gold medallist swimmer Bethany Firth is to compete for Team GB at future competitions, Team Ireland has confirmed.

Firth to compete for Team GB
Bethany Firth won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. (© Getty)

The 17-year-old from Seaforde in Co Down, was the first Irish athlete to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012.

Since then she went on to win three silver medals at this year's IPC World Championships in Montreal.

The International Paralympic Committee has approved a change of nationality which will allow Bethany to compete for Team GB at future events.

In a statement Paralympics Ireland wished the swimmer well for her future.

It said: "After a number of successful years which has included paralympic gold and world silver with Team Ireland, it is with regret that Paralympics Ireland acknowledges the decision by Bethany Firth to change nationality to Team GB, which was formally approved by the International Paralympic Committee.

"It is always a moment of great pride for Team Ireland when the athletes in whom we have invested so much energy, time and training achieve such great results as those achieved by Bethany.

Bethany was and is one of the success stories of London 2012 for Team Ireland winning as she did our first gold medal of the Games.

Paralympics Ireland

"Bethany's progress under the Paralympics Ireland High Performance Swimming Programme since joining us serves as a shining example of the potential within us all to achieve greatness."

The statement continued: "As recently as August she brought home three silver medals from the IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, a further indication of her immense talent, of her progress under the Paralympics Ireland system and we have no doubt that she would have delivered further success and been an exemplary role model for Team Ireland over the next three years and beyond.

"Ultimately this is a personal decision for Bethany and we in Team Ireland would like to express our gratitude to her for all that she has achieved in her time competing with Team Ireland and we wish her all the very best in the future."

© UTV News
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2 Comments
Richard in Ireland wrote (120 days ago):
@Guess in Northern Ireland. I truly love your ambission to have everyone in Northern Ireland treated equally. When it comes to sport I honestly believe it would create too small a pool of players to give a decent rugby, gaelic or football team. That might be proven with the current Northern Ireland team. The point is we manage to compete in rugby in GAA and cricket where politics is not an issue. Instead it is for the love of our chosen sport. Regardless of whether somebody feels British or Irish an athletes nationality is a distant second to the most important gift of all. That gift is competing and being the best you can possibly be. Never mind which flag somebody competes under. It is always a joy to watch such dedication from all our athletes whether Irish or British. As it happens most athletes will choose which country to represent based on opportunity to compete and the resources put into that sport by either government. Lets wish all our athletes the very best because of why they are in the public arena, for being athletes!
Guess in Northern Ireland wrote (122 days ago):
Instead of representing GB&NI or Team Ireland, they should create a Team called Northern Ireland. I believe they should create a sovereignty for all sports in country of Northern Ireland, this will allow the country to create a sporting identity. They would create a philosophy which would help to create future sporting greats for 'our wee country'. In Rugby, you would be representing Northern Ireland not Ireland, In Athletics you will be representing Northern Ireland not GB & NI or Ireland and the same applies to Gaelic Football, the same will apply to rest of the sports as well. They would create a sports academy in which those select few will receive specialist coaching, they would combine specialist coaching with education. They would create a new multi-sport all seater stadium which would allow Football, Rugby, Gaelic, Athletic events to be staged here. They will also create a new national anthem which will cater everyone and design a new uniform which will give them a specific identity within the world of sport. The idea is to unite Protestants and Catholics of all generations so that we can create a product that everyone will be proud of which will hopefully lead to success. You should create a option to give people the option and opportunity in wanting to represent the country of your birth. WHY won't you create that option?
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