Mark Pollock, Commonwealth Medal Winner in Rowing, Round Ireland Sailor, Adventurer and Cure for Paralysis activist has launched the inaugural Watersports Inclusion Games, organised by the Irish Sailing Association.
The Games is a free event which will allow people of all abilities from the physical, sensory, intellectual and learning difficulty spectrums to try watersports. Hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin on Saturday June 25th and Sunday June 26th, the activities on offer will include sailing, rowing and canoeing.
Pollock, who lost his sight at the age of 22 and was then paralysed after a tragic accident in 2010, said, “Watersports have played a really significant role in my life. The fact that I was able to continue sailing after going blind really helped me move forward not just because of the sport itself but the camaraderie and friendships it continues to provide me with. My focus is on helping people achieve what they believe is impossible. This underpins the work I am part of, trying to find a cure for paralysis but also my involvement in events such as the Watersports Inclusion Games which is giving people who may have thought watersports would never be for them to give it a try and no doubt, have some fun in the process.”
Organised by the Irish Sailing Association in collaboration with Spinal Injuries Ireland, Canoeing Ireland and Dun Laoghaire Sea Scouts with funding from the Sport Ireland, the event will attract people of all ages, demographics and backgrounds and will look to promote both the accessibility and benefits of watersports for everyone.
There will be no charge for any of the activities and experiences at the Games; sporting equipment and any necessary instruction will be provided by fully qualified personnel. No prior experience is necessary to take part.
Harry Hermon, Chief Executive of the Irish Sailing Association commented “We are delighted to be launching the inaugural Watersports Inclusion Games. Watersports really do have something for everyone. We take pride in Irish sailing that it is a sport that people can enjoy no matter their stage in life or personal circumstances. We are encouraging anyone who thought they might like to give watersports a try to come and join us in Dun Laoghaire on the 25th and 26th of June. We are hoping that it may be the first step in a lifetime of enjoyment and friendship as part of a very vibrant watersports community in Ireland.”
Accompanying Mark at the launch were Nadine Lattimore, London 2012 Paralympic athlete and keen windsurfer and sailor, and Oisin Putt, member of the Sailability Paralympic Pathway Team. Both Nadine and Oisin are campaigning to bring parasailing back into the Olympics Games and keen to inspire everyone to get out onto the water trying different watersports.