SLOVAKIA will field 32 athletes at the Paralympic Games 2012, which London will host between August 29 and September 9. The Paralympic squad consists of 30 physically challenged athletes and two visually disabled athletes, who will compete in nine sports. Another four athletes will stand by as alternates, the SITA newswire reported.
For Ján Riapoš, the chairman of the Slovak Paralympic Committee (SPV), London will be his fifth Paralympics and, together with Rastislav Revúcky, he will defend his men’s table tennis team gold from Beijing.
The Slovak Paralympic team will be slimmer than the one that went to Beijing in 2008. That team consisted of 36 athletes competing in 10 disciplines. They returned with six medals and 24 of them placed in the top eight, which put Slovakia in 39th position among the 146 participating countries, the SVP states on its website.
The most successful discipline was table tennis, in which Slovak athletes won four medals: one gold, two silver and one bronze. The second discipline that produced a gold medal, was shooting, for which Veronika Vadovičová received the very first gold medal among all the 4011 participating athletes at the XIII Paralympic Games. The sixth medal, a silver, was in cycling.
Samuel Roško, the head of the Paralympic team, cited increasing competition as the reason for the lower number of Slovak athletes qualifying.
“Competition is also growing in Paralympic sports from one year to another and thus we will be happy when our athletes achieve results at the edge of their personal records,” Roško said, as quoted by the Šport daily. “It is the huge competition which is behind the fact that in London we will have only three men in athletics disciplines, three shooters and two swimmers. Since Slovaks have never returned without some medals from Paralympics to date, I believe that we will continue in this trend in London too.”