Aughrim Paralympian Katie Dillon just returned from Berlin after competing in this year’s games in the shotput and the 100m run, placing fifth overall in both events.
Katie is no stranger to the Special Olympics, coming home with a silver medal at the 2014 European Games in Antwerp, and in 2019 represented Ireland at the World Olympic Games in Abu Dhabi. She has also competed in the National Games, in 2018 earning a silver and gold medal.
In advance to this year’s competition, Katie prepared well with her clubs the Ballinasloe Eagles and the Mountbellew Tigers. In addition, she practised with her coaches Ailish Smyth and Paddy Slattery monthly in Dublin and participated in some sessions with Coral Leisure in advance of the games.
This time around, she trained for the 100m run, finding it more difficult than the 400m walk at Abu Dhabi. The talented Olympian went again for the shotput in Berlin, a sport which seems to be her strongest field discipline.
Comparing her experiences, the Aughrim athlete shared: “I liked both Abu Dhabi and Berlin, both were wonderful experiences. I made new friends with the members of the athletic teams who were from all over Ireland.” Katie was joined by 72 other athletes of Team Ireland, four of which within her Athletics category.
She initially stayed in Germany five days prior to the opening ceremony, taking in the culture of the country. Similar to her stay in Abu Dhabi, the temperature was sweltering between 28 and 31 degrees.
Regardless the Irish sportswoman persevered, winning her quarterfinal in the shotput against stiff competition, as well as the semi-final 100m run with a personal best. Team Ireland were unlucky in the 4x4 100m relay with a disqualification who may have earned a silver medal .
Katie received a great deal of support back home, with cards and calls ringing in from neighbours and friends, along with her Mountbellew coaches and family members who joined her in Berlin. Upon her return, Katie was escorted through Aughrim by the Ballinasloe Gardai to a welcome party organised by the Hall Committee. More recently, she was honoured by Galway County Council for her placements and efforts in Berlin.
Katie and the Dillon family would like to thank everyone who supported her this year, and especially to the Ballinasloe Credit Union for their sponsorship.
Next for the young competitor will be some regional games in swimming and athletics this Autumn where she hopes to again reach the national games. In the long-term, Katie has her eyes set ahead at the next World Games in Perth, Australia.
“I may be lucky enough to get through. If not, I have wonderful memories of the past games and it would be lovely for someone to get the chance to go next time” she concludes
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