John Twomey will mark his 11th Paralympic Games in style as the Team Ireland flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Games.
Twomey will set an Irish Paralympic record when he competes in the Games as the skipper of the 3-person keelboat in the Sonar sailing event.
The Corkman has enjoyed a remarkable career in sport, making his Paralympic debut in 1976 in the discus event.
He would go on to win a bronze medal in 1984 and gold in 1988 before switching his focus to sailing in 2000.
Explaining his remarkable longevity in the Paralympics, Twomey told RTÉ Sport: "I actually retired in 1996, it was just that when the sailing became an Olympic sport in 2000, the lads talked me into going back so this is my second Paralympic career but they’ve all lined up one after each other to give me 11 consecutive.
"The discus career went very well. For 20 years I was always in the top five in the world and I have a few World Championship medals a few European medals, but the two Paralympic medals are the more special ones."
These days Twomey competes on the water and he’ll be in action in the Sonar event and while he admits that the long event can be gruelling, he has his sights set on a big performance.
"We’ve got six days of it, we’ve got two races each day,” he said. “We’re out on the water for four or five hours every day competing. It’s a fairly hectic schedule but it’s good.
"We have all the ground work done and all the homework done so we’re looking forward to it and can’t wait to get into it at this stage.
"It’s going to be quiet tricky, we’re ranked sixth in the World Rankings so we’ll be somewhere there or there abouts.
"With some fair winds and a little bit of luck you never know what we can come up with but our ambition is to achieve our best possible finish."
Before the action gets under way on the water, there’s the small matter of carrying the Irish flag into the stadium for the opening ceremony tonight ahead of what will be Twomey’s final Paralympics, it’s a fitting way to bow out.
"It’s a great honour for me and my family that I’ve been chose by Paralympics Ireland to carry the flag in," he said. "It’s also great to see the sport of sailing being represented.
"Like any other Irishman I’m very proud that I’m going to carry the flag into the stadium."
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