Northern Ireland

NI Paralympians back in action on Monday at London 2012

Michael McKillop with gold medal
Image caption All eyes will be on Michael McKillop on Monday as he tries to repeat his gold medal success

After the gold, the celebrations.

After the celebrations, it's back to competition.

Following a relatively quiet Sunday, Northern Ireland's Paralympians are striving for excellence once more.

Archer Sharon Vennard from Greyabbey was the only one in action on Sunday for Team GB, taking part in the quarter finals of the Women's Recurve Standing Individual competition.

She lost to her Chinese opponent, and her husband Norman told the BBC she was "very disappointed" but feeling "ok".

Gold medal winning swimmer Bethany Firth from Seaforde had planned to compete in the 200m Freestyle event, but retired on doctor's advice.

Her shoulder injury had been aggravated during her winning race on Friday night. She hopes to return to the pool for the 100m breaststroke on Thursday.

Cyclist James Brown had also considered competing in the individual sprint event, but decided to focus on road race events at Brands Hatch later in the week.


So all eyes return to Glengormley runner, Michael McKillop, on Monday night.

Image caption Greyabbey archer, Sharon Vennard, lost to her Chinese oppponent in the Recurve quarter-finals

He is aiming to complete a double gold-winning performance for Team Ireland, as he defends his 1500m title from Beijing.

Before then, Armagh's Eilish Byrne competes in the freestyle test at the equestrian arena.

In the meantime the Games go on, the crowds stream in the morning, and leave in droves late at night, buzzing with good-natured banter about the sport they have just witnessed.

They pour down the streets of Stratford's Westfield Centre, passing an electronics shop adorned with 20 ft images of sporting celebrity figures.

On one side of the door, David Beckham, on the other, Ballykelly's Sally Brown.

Seventeen-year-old Sally plans to return to the track for Team GB on Tuesday, with the 100m heats.


She hopes to have recovered from the infection that put her out of contention for the 200m title.

Image caption The Games Makers have been one of London 2012's big successes

And directing the crowds that will come to see her, organising the enormous job of administering the Games, the many thousands of volunteers in their distinctive purple and pink uniforms.

Among them, Corina Dickson from Newtownards, who has volunteered at both the Olympics and the Paralympics, working at North Greenwich arena.

She's a Pigeonhole Team Member, doing the mundane but vital job of placing information and results in a place where international journalists can find them.


At the Olympics she also carried out interviews with gymnastics team members, especially in her native language of Romanian.

I meet her on one of her rare days off, which she has chosen to spend shopping at the centre right beside the main Games complex in Stratford.

"It's all about meeting people and seeing smiling faces" she said. "Feeling the atmosphere of the office, the complex, of London.

"I've always watched the Olympics from when I was a child and wished I could go" explained Corina, who has a sports degree from the University of Ulster.

"Not everyone gets to go as a sports person. This way the dream can come true. And Rio, here I come!"

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