The Galway native competes in the shot putt on Monday afternoon
Deirdre Mongan begins her Paralympic career on Monday afternoon in Rio.
The 38-year-old Galway native, now lives in County Down with her husband Steve and daughter Amy. Mongan has won bronze medals in the 2015 IPC World Championships and this years IPC European Championships. She is hoping to add a Paralympic medal to the growing collection.
Mongan, who has been in a wheelchair since she was 14 was one of the subjects of the Newstalk documentary, 'Personal Best – The Story Behind Irish Women in Paralympic Sport'. The documentary follows Mongan and swimmer Ellen Keane as they prepare for the Rio Games.
"Sport has made me strong enough for the physical side of minding Amy", Mongan revealed. "I can manage to lift her up on to my lap which I don’t know if I would be able to do if I wasn’t as fit as I am now."
Mongan only got into the shot putt through friends. After moving to Dublin, she took up wheelchair rugby. From there, on the encouragement of team mates she took up the shot putt and has since excelled.
Her coach Dave Sweeney feels Rio can see the 38-year-old properly enter the national psyche in the same way Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth have.
"Deirdre’s form has been really good. I think she is ready to go over her best ever. Last year she got a bronze medal at the World Championships. Given that this was a time in her life when there was a lot happening – she had just got married and had a baby - to come out with a bronze was an amazing achievement, and I think this year she has put in an even more solid training base, so fingers crossed."
You can listen to 'Personal Best – The Story Behind Irish Women In Paralympic Sport' below.
'Personal Best – The Story Behind Irish Women in Paralympic Sport' was produced and narrated by Susan Dennehy. The programme was made with the support of the BAI, Sound and Vision Grant.