In our new series, ‘Showcase your Sport’, in association with the Federation of Irish Sport, we will be giving you a thorough insight into some of the most fascinating sports we have in Ireland.
With the Paralympic Games in Tokyo a year away, this week our focus is on Paralympic Sport. Taking on our Q&A is former Paralympian, Orla Barry, who won medals at the London and Rio Games.
When and how did you first get involved with Paralympic Sport?
I first tried Paralympic athletics at the age of nine. I wanted to try a few sports to see what I would enjoy. I was hooked by the throwing events from the very start.
What was the feeling like of representing your country at three Paralympic Games?
I am very proud to have represented my country at three Paralympic Games. Each one is a highlight in my career. Every athlete dreams of going to a Paralympics but to have made it onto the podium twice was amazing.
Did you have any specific pre-competition routine?
I always planned the day of competition down to every minute of the day. Routine is very important. Knowing that you must stick to the plan and that the plan works helps to keep you focused on the competition and the nerves at bay.
Winning gold at the 2018 Euro Championships, on a very successful day for Ireland, must have been a special feeling…
It is always very special to make it on the podium but to come first is a fantastic feeling. Hearing the national anthem on top of the podium is the best feeling in the world.
Was it difficult to make the decision to retire?
I knew this year was the right time for me to retire. I had been throwing discus for 20 years. My life was starting to take a different direction. I wanted to start a new career and make a clean break from my athletics career.
How have you found the transition since announcing your retirement?
My transition has been smooth enough considering we have been in lockdown for part of the year. Sport Ireland and Paralympics Ireland have been a great support for me during my transition.
What is the best thing about being involved in Paralympic Sport in Ireland?
Getting to opportunity to represent your country at the biggest competition in sport.
What has been the proudest moment of your career?
I have had many proud moments in my career but the one that sticks out the most is winning a Paralympic medal in London 2012 with over 100 supporters from my little home village of Ladysbridge there to cheer me on.