By Duncan Mackay

John Twomey sailingMarch 8 - Newly elected President of the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS), John Twomey, has revealed that he has shelved plans to retire so he can part in this year's World Championships, which are being held in his home country of Ireland.

The 57-year-old qualified accountant from Cork, chosen to replace American Linda Merkle at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Annual Conference in Dun Laoghaire last November, had been expected to call it a day after making his tenth consecutive appearance in the Paralympics at London last year.

But now he has announced plans to compete in the IFDS World Championships, which are being held in Kinsale, and may even carry on beyond this year.

As well as being President of the IFDS, Twomey is also due to be the assistant technical delegate at the Championships, which are due to be held between August 22 and 30. 

"I always had my eye on the fact that the 2013 Worlds would be in my home club, and that's an opportunity that is too good to miss," Twomey told Irish newspaper, The Southern Star.

"There is no way that I could pass up a chance like this when the event is on my own doorstep.

"I'm still competitive sailing at the moment.

"What next year brings is another year.

"We'll take it as it comes.

"I will take stock at the end of the year and see where I am."

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 made his Paralympic debut at Toronto in 1976 and claimed his first medal in table tennis at in Arnhem four years later 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.

John Twomey in chairJohn Twomey has appeared in a record ten consecutive Paralympics

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

"I had a double Paralympic career because I was involved in the athletics for my first six Paralympics, and for the last four I have been a sailor," said Twomey.

"I was always involved in sailing, even when I wasn't competing in it in the Paralympics, because it's a great sport for fitness.

"One sport compliments the other.

"Age was a factor for my change of sports.

"Discus throwing is a younger man's sport."

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