Support Damien Vereker’s Paralympic Journey at Rio 2016

Support Damien Vereker’s Paralympic Journey at Rio 2016

EyeZone Opticians (Irelands largest group of independent Opticians) is proud to support local and during this Olympic year we have a very special chance to support a local athlete, a champion who’s pushing beyond the bounds of possibility and physical limitations to compete at the highest levels of sports at the Paralympic games in Rio 2016.

EyeZone Opticians members have grouped together to support Damien Vereker, an amazing Cyclist heading to the Paralympic games in Rio this September. We have helped fund the significant additional costs of his bike and spares, which we hope will take him to glory in Rio.

Read Damiens Story below.....

JUST IMAGINE

Sit down, close your eyes TIGHT, now open one eye and let just the very smallest flicker of light enter your eye. Your tears and lashes should allow light in but all you can see is shades of light and shadows of objects in your surroundings. 

Now Imagine this… 

Jump on a bike and cycle fast as you possibly can, push your body to its absolute maximum, up hill, down hill, winding through an unknown land, and want nothing more than an athletes desire to win. No peaking, No opening your eyes wider, No magic glasses, just the trust of your tandem pilot and the thinnest rubber wheels the only thing to keep you on the road. 

This is what Damien Vereker does every day. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) in his mid teens, a degenerative eye condition which has stolen his entire peripheral vision, his colour vision, his night vision and has left only the vaguest shadow of central vision. What a typical eye can see 200 meters away, Damien can only see shadows of 6 meters away, and only then when it is directly in front of him. 

Damien, who hails from Kilmacow Co Kilkenny and now lives in Waterford, started tandem cycling in 2009. Having enjoyed completing some local bike tours including the Sean Kelly Tour, Damien decided in 2012 to start Tandem Racing with the aim of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

With the support of the Comeragh Cycling Club Damien steadily progressed through the ranks in the Irish Paracycling league. In 2015 Damien raced with tandem pilots Martin Kirwan and Marcin Mizgajski in Belgium, Cologne, Bilbao and Prague to compete in European Cup events to gain experience and also pick up vital qualification points.

So far in 2016 Damien competed in World Cup events in Belgium and South Africa where he won Gold medal in the road race, and a Bronze medal in the time trial placing him in first position of the UCI world rankings. In July Damien finished fourth in Bilbao paracycling road world cup - just five seconds behind the world champions. Now heading to Rio, Damien is ranked No:2 in the UCI world Rankings

Damien is now coached by Martin Kirwan Focus on Fitness based in Waterford and having raced in the world cup series with Marcin Mizgajski will now compete in Rio with Sean Hahessy from Carrick Wheelers Cycling Club in Carrick-on-Suir. Damien and Sean will compete in a 108km road race, a road sprint race as well as the individual pursuit race in the velodrome. 

Damien receives no government funding for his sport achievements. All costs are covered through his own resources and the support of South East Paracycling Club which affiliated with Comeragh Cycling Club.

He has received valuable sponsorship from various fund raising events and companies and now from EyeZone Opticians Group, Irelands largest group of independent Opticians.

Waterfords local EyeZone practices include Eyeworks Opticians in Waterford City and Nolke Opticians in Ardkeen.  

Keep an eye out for Damien competing in Rio 2016.  

8th September Mens individual pursuit.

14th Sept Mens Time Trial.

17th Sept Mens Road Race.

LINKS http://www.paralympics.ie/damien-vereker-rio­­

http://www.eyezone.ie/sites/default/files/nolke1.jpeg

Persons in Picture from Left   Damien Vereker. Paralympian Kjell Nolke EyeZone Nolke OpticiansBreda Gavin EyeZone Eyeworks Opticians. Martin Kirwan Coach, Focus on Fitness.