Olympic spotlight now turns to Ballinahown’s Mark Rohan

After all the Olympic excitement in the north of the county in the last couple of weeks dies down, the focus this week turns to the Paralympics, as Ballinahown’s Mark Rohan prepares to go to London as a red-hot favourite.

Rohan (31 ) will compete in both the time trial and road race of the hand bike competition at the famous Brands Hatch racetrack, and will do so in the coveted rainbow jersey as the reigning world champion.

Rohan dominated his discipline last year, winning an unprecedented six World Cup events in a row, before winning both time trial and road race at last September’s UCI World Paracycling Road Championships in Denmark, and retaining the title he had first won a year previously in Canada.

This run of form saw the former Castledaly footballer being named International Paralympic committee’s athlete of the month in September.

This domination has continued throughout 2012, leading him to retain his World Cup series, before he heads for London next week.

Central to this domination is Rohan’s decision to turn full-time, a move made possible by his qualifying for a Sky Sports scholarship last year alongside national treasures Katie Taylor and Henry Shefflin, which has seen him appear in TV ads all summer alongside these two, as well as Scottish tennis player Andy Murray.

The Games run from August 29 to September 9, and will feature over 4,000 athletes competing in 503 events in 21 sports at its 14th Olympiad.

Mark will have to wait until September 5 and 7 to compete in his two events, and in the meantime, he flew out with his 48 teammates to a warm weather, pre-Games finishing camp in Portugal yesterday (August 16 ).

Live coverage of the Games can be seen on Channel 4, and Setanta, while RTÉ will show extensive highlights.

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