Paralympics Ireland yesterday published their new strategic plan; Success Takes More.

The plan charts the course for Paralympic Sports in Ireland up to 2025 including the next two cycles of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024.

It has come together following an extensive and deep consultation with multiple stakeholders that either feed in to or are impacted by Para sport and it is a fine document.

There was an initial hope to publish last summer but the decision was taken to get it right rather than get it quick and that looks to have been a winning call.

This is a first long term stamp looking to the future from the relatively new leadership team of Miriam Malone as CEO and John Fulham as President and it hangs together as an impressive statement of ambition, backed by the necessary support away from the track, pool and pitch that will bring it to life.

The organisation ‘s mission is stated early on  “to support Irish Para-Athletes to reach finals and deliver podium places at the Paralympic Games. We will provide support and advice to NGBs in their delivery of a high performance pathway for athletes with a disability ensuring that the next generation of Irish Paralympians will be amongst the best prepared and most successful Para-Athletes competing in future Paralympic Games.”

The numeric target in terms of performance is to target a World Top 5 finish in medals per capita at the Tokyo Paralympic Games improving to a Top 3 finish at Paris 2024.

High Performance sport is the first pillar established in the report which seeks to build an effective high performance system for Paralympic sport.

The plan defines the relationship between Paralympics Ireland and the National Governing bodies for sport who are responsible for the participation and development sides of their sports.

The plan also sets out a new tiering system for affiliated sports with the introduction of the Gold, Silver and Bronze tiers. Gold sports have their own sustainable systems in place and are consistently competing for and winning medals internationally. Silver sports have most of the systems in place and have a limited number of athletes competing at the highest levels with Bronze sports currently being at the developmental stage.

The plan also sets out a further three Pillars; Driving Leadership in Sport, Creating a Sustainable Paralympics Ireland model and Building the Profile of Paralympics in Ireland.

One of the most ambitious aspects of the plan is for the development of self generated income to help fund the new plan. 40% of Paralympics Ireland funding aims to be self generated by 2022 with that number rising to 50% by 2025.  Trevor O’Rourke was recently appointed to the position of Commercial Director and will have a key part to play in meeting those targets.

What is measured is managed and any Strategic Plan, particularly over a longer time framne as this one is, needs to have solid targets.

There are 10 headline goals set out in Success Takes More:
1. Top 5 in terms of medals per capita by 2020 and Top 3 by 2025
2. Medals in all ‘Gold’ Sports at every Paralympic Games
3. Over 40% self generated funds by 2021 and 50% by 2025
4. Portfolio of 6 Top Level commercial partners in place by 2021
5. Leverage our charitable status to raise additional funds by 2020
6. Establish brand recognition metrics for Paralympics Ireland and Irish Para-Athletes with the aim of achieving annual increases thereafter
7. Memorandum of understanding between Paralympics Ireland and every affiliated sport by 2019
8. Multi-Year service agreements in place to ensure appropriate athlete support services in place
9. Achieve a customer satisfaction rating of 75% or over with each affiliate annually
10. Leading in the provision of reliable classification expertise to all affiliated sports.

Each of the pillars has a set of measurable targets and there is a detailed timeline of when they are to be achieved.  This is as strong a strategic plan as we can recall seeing in some time.

“This plan puts the athletes at the centre of everything we do,” said Paralympics Ireland President John Fulham.

“They are the most important people in Paralympic sport. We want to enable athletes to deliver their best possible performances on the biggest stage of all. We will work with our NGB’s to ensure that athletes have the best possible supports and systems in place as they progress towards their Paralympic medals dream.”

“This is the culmination of 2 years work and a very extensive consultation process with our stakeholders,” added CEO Miriam Malone.

“We have set out some very ambitious goals both on and off the field of competition, but we have also set out a clear path as to how those goals can be achieved. I very much looking forward to implementing this plan over the coming 6 years and seeing the plan bear fruits on the podium at future Paralympic Games.”

To read the plan in full click on the image below