The visit will also be important for the athletes with their sights on the Olympic Games which will be well advanced this time next year.
Accompanied by Beijing 2008 chef de mission Jimmy Byrne and the PCI performance team of Liam Harbison and Nancy Chillingworth, the 67 athletes and staff will spend ten days training and living in the Beijing environment in order to simulate the conditions and the environment in which the successful candidates will compete next year.
As the climate and lifestyle will be very different to the Irish climate, athletes will be accompanied by a sports science and medical team led by Dr Joe Conway, PCI medical officer. This will offer the athletes and coaches the opportunity to analyse and fully “road test” conditions on an individual basis in order to ensure athletes have a personal acclimatisation strategy in advance of next year’s games.
The panel travelling to Beijing includes a number of Ireland’s successful athletes with a disability including visually impaired athletes and reigning world champion and world record holder over 100m and 200m Jason Smyth, Paralympic medallists David Malone, John McCarthy, Derek Malone, 800m world record holder Michael McKillop, and recent equestrian international silver medallist Ellish Byrne. Overall, a total of five sports, Athletics, Football, Equestrian, Boccia and Swimming will represented at the camp with the cycling team having travelled earlier this year.