Allianz Ireland has extended its official sponsorship of Paralympics Ireland and in so doing, it has became the first official sponsor to support the organisation towards the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Jason Smyth, Orla Barry and Darragh McDonald took time out from preparing for the IPC Athletics World Championships this weekend in Lyon and the Swimming World Championships in Montreal in August to be present at the announcement in Dublin.
The Allianz logo features on kit that will be worn by the 16 Paralympic athletes that will compete across both those world gatherings, the first major events since the transformational success of London 2012.
“Allianz are proud to renew its sponsorship of Paralympics Ireland as they embark on another Paralympic journey,” said Allianz CEO Brendan Murphy. “The success of the 2012 Irish Paralympic Team was testament to the huge dedication, determination and professionalism of the athletes and support staff who represented our country on the world stage. It is a privilege and an honour for Allianz to play a role on the road to Rio.”
Murphy was present in London when Darragh McDonald, a fellow Wexford native won his Gold medal and Paralympics Ireland CEO Liam Harbison recalled seeing Murphy as part of a group of Irish fans clapping and cheering each stroke and clearly delighting in the shared experience of being there for London.
Indeed, speaking to Damien O’Neill, Allianz Group Head of Marketing, the partnership clearly means more to the company than a logo on a shirt.
“Insurance is about being there when things go wrong and the inspiration we draw from being involved with athletes that have refused to be defined by their disability is something that is very special to the company and to all of those who work here.”
Allianz has an international partnership with the Paralympic movement but Ireland is one of the small number of countries where that has extended to national teams as well.
“It is fantastic that Allianz Ireland have renewed their association with Paralympics Ireland,” added Harbison who will host the European Paralympic Congress in Dublin in October.
“Their passionate support played a key role in publicising the success of Irish athletes at London 2012 and we look forward to developing our dynamic partnership.”
“Their sponsorship of Setanta Sports Coverage of the games brought the heroic success of our athletes into 1.6 million Irish homes and that was critical in making sure the achievement gained the recognition it deserved.”
Allianz will help to drive awareness of the Paralympians through a number of initiatives to be rolled out over the coming years. Their other key sponsorships include the Allianz Leagues in Gaelic Games, the Cumman na mBunscoil movement in schools sport and the Allianz Business to Arts partnership.
Final word at the announcement went to Jason Smyth who said that “Allianz support is massive. It enables Paralympics Ireland to do what it does in enabling us to achieve what we can on a world stage for ourselves and for Ireland.”
Sport for Business will revisit an interview with Damien O’Neill from Allianz this coming Friday on the eve of the IPC World Athletics Championships.