Galway’s ‘pocket-rocket’ ready to take orbit at IWAS World Games


Irish javelin thrower Sinead Keon, nicknamed ‘Galway’s pocket rocket’, is gearing up to compete at theIWAS World Games 2019 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, where she hopes to excel once again

By Stuti Chakraborty and IWAS

Irish javelin thrower Sinead Keon, nicknamed ‘Galway’s pocket rocket’ by the media, is gearing up to compete at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Games 2019 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, where she hopes to excel once again.

In 2017, Keon competed at the last edition in Vila Real de Santo António, Portugal, where she set a new European record in the javelin F41. Fast forward one year later and the now 21-year-old added to her mark in 2018 at home in Athlone, Ireland, at the 2018 IWAS World Youth Games.

“Competing at the World Games 2017 in Portugal was a great experience to compete internationally in what is essentially my off season,” Keon said. “I was therefore delighted to set a new European record in javelin. Since then I went on to improve on the European record at the World [Youth Games] Games in Athlone 2018.

“The 2018 World Games was the first time that many of my family and friends got to see me compete at an international event. This made my experience more enjoyable as I spend most of my time training and have to miss-out on family occasions due to sport commitments.” 

For the World Games 2019, which run from 12-16 February, Keon is keen to put in a good performance and push herself hard.

“I am hoping to improve on my performance at the IWAS World Games in Sharjah. I am looking forward to competing in a different climate and time-zone. 

“I have met many athletes through these competitions and keep in touch with them regularly at the moment. At this point in time I am unlikely to be competing in Tokyo 2020 as javelin is currently unavailable in my class (F41). However this will not stop me striving to produce new records and who knows where that might lead.”

Keon, who was born with achondroplasia – a congenital condition affecting bone growth – was inspired to take up Para athletics after the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Her ascent to notoriety has been swift; in the same year she was named Best Newcomer of the Year by the Irish Wheelchair Association Sport.

Keon has also been successful in table tennis and badminton, but decided to focus fully on athletics in 2017. She also helps to inspire the next generation through the Dwarf Sports Association Ireland and volunteers at her local club.

“Sport has opened up many opportunities to me to meet new people, travel and learn new skills. I would highly recommend any young person with a disability to give it a go!”

More than 500 athletes from 45 countries will compete at the IWAS World Games 2019 in archery, athletics, badminton, shooting, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair fencing.

Most competitions will be sanctioned by the relevant International Federation and in some cases results will go towards the all-important world rankings which feed into Tokyo 2020 qualification.