By Duncan Mackay

John Twomey head and shouldersNovember 19 - Ireland's John Twomey, who made his tenth consecutive appearance in a Paralympic Games at London 2012, has been elected as the new President of the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS). 

The 57-year-old qualified accountant from Cork was chosen to replace American Linda Merkle at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Annual Conference in Dun Laoghaire.

Twomey has been in a wheelchair since he was 14 as a result of suffering a spinal injury following a crash while cycling in the County Cork Championships in 1970.

Twomey claimed his first medal in table tennis at the 1980 Paralympics in Arnhem when he won silver in the team event. 

At New York 1984 he won a bronze medal in the discus before going on to win gold at Seoul four years later.

Having sailed since the 1970s, he switched to sailing competitively after Atlanta 1996 having originally thought of retiring. 

Twomey's appearance at London - where he and his team finished tenth - meant he has represented Ireland in the Paralympics more than any other competitor.

He is involved in sailing courses in Kinsale for people with disabilities where up to 30 sailors with a wide range of physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities go sailing every Saturday. 

"I am delighted and honoured to have been chosen by my colleagues to take on this role," said Twomey, who will serve a four-year term.

"I promise to work extremely hard to the benefit of the sailors interests."

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