A Co Cork Paralympian on the road to Rio has had his qualification hopes dented after his specially modified car was stolen from outside his home.
John McCarthy from Dunmanway has represented Ireland in three Paralympic Games in Athens, Beijing and London. He won a silver medal in discus in Athens.
Now battling to qualify for Rio, his specially adapted black Audi A6 Estate (12 C 11586) was stolen from outside his home in Lucan in Dublin on Sunday night. The thieves broke into his house and took the keys from the kitchen table. Nothing else in the home was taken.
Speaking yesterday, Mr McCarthy stressed the importance of the car to his training and daily life.
“I am a paralympic athlete so I train six days a week. I also work a few days a week and the reality is, without the car, I can’t do any of this. I have to transport a big and cumbersome wheelchair so I’d need a big taxi to transport me to training. That’s around €40 each way so it’s a huge hit to me,” he said.
Mr McCarthy also pointed out that the theft of the car could not have come at a worse time as he is just recovering from a serious illness and only has a handful of opportunities left to qualify for the Rio Paralympic Games in September.
“I am coming back from a serious illness so I have been out for the past three weeks or so and I was in hospital. I was just getting back training again and hoping to get a good few weeks under my belt as I am trying to qualify for Rio and then this happens.
“It’s just another kick in the head. It’s been a pretty tough time for me in the past number of weeks and this couldn’t have come at a worse time really,” he said.
The Dunmanway born athlete said the theft seemed to have been planned as they took nothing from the house except the keys for the car.
“They saw the ramp up to the front door so they knew there was someone vulnerable in the house. I am a wheelchair user so it has hand controls for the pedals and a steering knob so they knew what they were doing.
“You can remove the controls and you are left with an ordinary automatic car which they can sell for a good price,” he said.
firstname.lastname@example.org is John’s email address. Anyone with information can email or call Ronanstown Garda Station at 01 666 7700.