- Name: Francis Genocky
- County: Dublin
1. What advice would you give to our athletes who will compete at this years London Games?
Look after yourself between now and then. Set your training programme and maintain your self discipline between now and the end of August. You can celebrate all you want after the Games.
2. Tell us more about your involvement with IWA Sport?
I first got involved in IWA Sports, or ‘Rehab’ as it was known then, in the 60s. As an amputee with no spinal injury I wasn’t allowed to take part in Paralympics competition. As a result, I missed out on the Paralympics in the 60s and 70s. But I gave my support as the ‘Technical Engineer’ with the backroom team. This didn’t stop me playing sport though. My main sports were table tennis and basketball. The introduction of a new Paralympics category – Les Autres – in the 1980s meant I was finally able to compete after years of supporting from the sidelines.
I retired in the late 90s, but kept up an interest and played basketball at a less competitive level until earlier this year.
3. Have you competed in the Paralympic Games before?
1984, New York: Won a silver medal in the Table Tennis Team Event with Gerry O’Rourke and won bronze in the Shot Putt
1988, Seoul: Team Table Tennis
1992, Barcelona: Team Table Tennis
4. What sports did you compete in?
Team Table Tennis, Track and Field
5. What was your biggest achievement or highlight of the Games?
I really enjoyed taking part in the team events. A real highlight was after first playing table tennis competitively with Michael Cunningham, we finally played as a team at the 92 Paralympics in Barcelona. But unfortunately, there were no medals on this occasion. It was a real honour to have competed with Michael, and Gerry O’Rourke, and to have shared the Paralympics stage with so many great athletes and support teams, many of whom have remained friends to this day.
6. What advise would you give to juniors hopeful of reaching the top?
Enjoy your sport. Keep up the training. If you don’t train the only person you are fooling is yourself.
7. What are your hobbies and interests outside of sport?
Shamrock Rovers first; soccer second. What they have achieved this year is phenomenal. I also love a bit of GAA, particularly the Dublin football team, and across the water I support Leeds Utd. But I most enjoy being around my wonderful family. My wife, Marguerite, our three sons and their wives, and eight amazing grandchildren. I should say I sometimes feel like the only Dublin fan in Meath. Despite the intervention of the best doctors in the land, my three boys have turned out to be Meath fans. But it is certainly sweet being a Dub this year!