Mark Pollock, Commonwealth medal winner in rowing; Round Ireland sailor; adventurer and Cure for Paralysis activist, has launched the inaugural Watersports Inclusion Games, organised by the Irish Sailing Association.

Hosted by the Royal St George Yacht Club, Dún Laoghaire (June 25-26), this free event of sailing, rowing and canoeing, aims to attract people of all abilities from the physical, sensory, intellectual and learning difficulty spectgrums, to try watersports. 

Watersports Inclusion Games 2017

Mark Pollock is accompanied by Oisin Putt, member of the Sailability Paralympic Pathway Team and Nadine Lattimore, London 2012 Paralympic athlete at Poolbeg Yacht Club. ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Pollock, who lost his sight at 22 and was paralysed after an accident in 2010, said that watersports plays a significant role in his life.

“The fact I was able to continue sailing after going blind really helped me move forward – not just because of the sport itself but the camaraderie and friendship it continues to provide me with. My focus is on helping people achieve what they believe is impossible.”

Organised by the ISA in collaboration with Spinal Injuries Ireland, Canoeing Ireland, Dún Laoghaire Sea Scouts and funding from Sport Ireland, the event is targeting people of all ages, demographics and backgrounds. 

“Watersports really do have something for everyone. We take pride in Irish sailing that it is a sport that people can enjoy no matter their stage in life or personal circumstances,” remarked Harry Harmon, ISA chief executive. 

“We are encouraging anyone who thought they might like to give watersports a try to come and join us in Dún Laoghaire. We’re hoping that it may be the first step in a lifetime of enjoyment and friendship as part of a very vibrant watersports community in Ireland.”