Gold for Mark as Ballinahown prepares for homecoming

Ballinahown’s Mark Rohan became a Paralympic gold medalist on Wednesday evening after winning the individual handbike time trial with a time of 35:41:54.

Writing on Twitter on Wednesday night Mark said: “Proudest moment in an Irish Jersey 2 date. The medal belongs to everybody that has helped in every way”.

At Monday’s monthly meeting of Athlone Town Council it was decided to organise a homecoming for Mark, which will take place in Ballinahown on Tuesday evening September 11.

Entertainment will be provided and a parade through the village will precede the formal ceremony which is expected to take place at approximately 7pm. Westmeath County Council, Athlone Town Council, and the local community in Ballinahown are currently finalising details for the homecoming celebrations.

Speaking at the monthly meeting, councillors were keen to congratulate Mark on making it to the Paralympics. Concerns were also expressed over the recent removal of good wishes signs for the Ballinahown man.

“We wish Mark well,” said director of services Barry Kehoe. “There’s no issue with signage. It needs to be approved before it can go up. There’s no difficulty with people putting up signage as long as they make contact with the council staff.

“Signage should contribute to the build-up of the Games, not advertise a business,” he added.

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 and Westmeath footballer being named the International Paralympic Committee’s athlete of the month in September.

This domination has continued throughout 2012, leading him to retain his World Cup series, along with winning a gold medal in London this week.

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