By Duncan Mackay

Paralympic Cadbury Talent SearchAugust 8 - Cadbury today unveiled its "Fast Track" squad, a group of Irish athletes it is supporting on the road to the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

The event at Morton Stadium, Santry, was attended by runner Michael McKillop and cyclist Mark Rohan, double gold medallists at London 2012, helping Ireland enjoy their most successful Paralympic performance since Seoul 1988.

The new squad includes ten athletes identified at a special Paralympic Talent Search Day, sponsored by Cadbury, last October. 

Enthusiasm for Paralympic sport is at an all-time high in Ireland following London 2012 where the team won a total of 16 medals, including eight gold.

"The success of the 2012 Irish Paralympic team triggered huge admiration and national pride," said Liam Harbison, chief executive of Paralympics Ireland.

"The superb attendance at last October's Paralympic Talent Search event was testament also to the Cadbury sponsorship and it is great to see the subsequent progress of our new Fast Track squad.

"We are planning for Rio 2016 and we hope that some of these athletes can earn selection for the Irish team."

Paralympics Ireland launch with Cadbury Morton Stadium August 8 2013Double London 2012 gold medallists Mark Rohan (left) and Michael McKillop were the star names an event to help launch Cadbury's backing of a group of Irish athletes for Rio 2016

McKillop, winner of the T37 800 and 1500 metres at London 2012, and Rohan, who won the H1 time time trial and road race, delivered a masterclass to the athletes named in the new squad.

As part of the event, performance leads James Nolan in athletics, Neill Delahaye in cycling and John Armstrong in rowing conducted a special cross-discipline training session with the Fast squad.

The squad were then treated to a unique opportunity of an intimate and exclusive "Audience with Michael and Mark" where they got an insight into the dedication and commitment required to become a world-class athlete.

"There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in Paralympic sport in Ireland and Cadbury is proud to partner Paralympics Ireland," said Justin Cook, managing director of Mondelez International, the American multinational which owns Cadbury.

"The Irish Paralympic team truly inspired the nation last summer and we were thrilled that so many people turned out for the Paralympic Talent Search.

"The Fast Track Squad has been a real success with many showing great potential for the future already."

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