Archives For Sport

Braid Amateur Boxing Club welcomed a knockout visitor – former world champion Barry McGuigan – to its Ballymena clubrooms last week.
The former world featherweight champion-turned-promoter created a real buzz when he visited the club’s Ballykeel base.
“Braid ABC was set to host a visit last year to mark the club’s 10th anniversary, that visit had to be postponed and we had felt that the visit would not take place,” explained Braid head coach John McLeister.
“Barry, true to his word, contacted the club through Ian Paisley, who has always been an advocate of the club, and within a few days, Barry made the journey to Ballymena.”
Barry spent time with the coaches and the boxers and watched as club Boxers Corey Bradshaw, Anthony O’Rawe and Chris Richmond sparred boxers from the Canal Boxing Academy in Lisburn.
McGuigan, who now trains and promotes world bantamweight champion Carl Frampton, was on hand to give the boys tips and advice during the workout and spoke highly of the talent on display.
Mr Paisley commented “It was such a pleasure to welcome Barry to Ballymena. We discussed several months ago about finding a time for Barry to come up to the Braid and its great that we’ve managed to make it happen. This was a special night for the club, the boxers, myself and I trust Barry. He stayed for a lot longer than he had to and it we are very appreciative that he did so.”
Former Ulster bantamweight Senior Champion Anthony O’Rawe was one of the boxers Barry spent time with and clearly saw the potential that he has.
Corey Bradshaw a 16 year old champion welterweight boxer also had Barry in his corner and Barry described Corey as “something special” which will give the local boxers a great lift.
“Barry spent more time with the boys than any of us anticipated, it wasn’t long before he had the coaching pads on and was drilling instruction to Anthony on the pads, whilst watching Corey and Chris sparring,” said Mr McLeister.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley, former World Champion Barry McGuigan and Braid Boxing Club Head Coach John McLeister during Barry's visit to the Club last week

North antrim MP Ian Paisley, former World Champion Barry McGuigan and Braid ABC Head Coach John McLeister during Barry’s visit to the Club last week

A presentation was made on behalf of the club by its youngest member, Jamie Beverland from Cullybackey. Barry was in no hurry away and openly discussed Carl’s training and sparring programme and informally shared memories of his early career and encouraged the boys to stick at it and train hard.
“It was great to be in his company and I know the lads were very inspired by the visit,” said John.
“Ian Paisley, who co-ordinated the visit on behalf of the club and who has always been a fervent supporter, spoke highly of the club which is always good to hear.
“Ian took time out of his busy schedule and used his political influence in a practical way, ensuring that the boxers had a special night to remember.”
“The club is only too grateful to both Ian and Barry for spending time in our Club and with the team,” added John.

Ian Paisley MP was in attendance at the Adelaide Motorbike Awards Dinner this week at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. The MP helped present William Dunlop the Race of the year award. “As a keen motorcycle enthusiast myself, I was delighted to be invited to attend the Awards dinner” said Mr Paisley.

Ian Paisley presenting William Dunlop with his Race of the Year award

Ian Paisley presenting William Dunlop with his Race of the Year award

“It was a privilege to present William with his trophy. Motorcycling is at the very heart of the community throughout North Antrim and indeed Northern Ireland as a whole. The Dunlop family are of course held in the highest regard within the sport and William and his brother Michael are already making history, breaking records and picking up recognition across the world for their raw talent.”

Ian Paisley MP visited the co-hosted McDonalds and Irish FA training event on Saturday

Ian Paisley MP visited the co-hosted McDonalds and Irish FA training event on Saturday

Ian Paisley Junior MP has welcomed the impact that the Irish FA and McDonald’s Community partnership is having on grassroots football following a visit to two of the biggest clubs in the North Antrim constituency, Ballymena United FC Academy and Ballymoney United FC Academy.

McDonald’s has a long standing commitment to grassroots football, having been the Community Partner of the Irish FA since 2002. This partnership is delivering a lasting legacy for grassroots football through McDonald’s KickStart funding, ongoing coach creation and education, a Club Accreditation Scheme and its regional Small Sided Games Centres – all contributing to ‘Better Play for Kids’.

Commenting on his visit the North Antrim MP said,
“Projects like this contribute a huge amount to smaller nations such as Northern Ireland and we cannot thank McDonalds enough for their continued support of the local game. The Irish FA has also worked tirelessly to put the mechanisms in place for our local clubs to utilise all the services that the project has to offer. Between the two organisations, grassroots football has benefited from new coaches being created and educated, all contributing to the ‘Better Play for Kids’ mission of developing the local game for over a decade. I was honoured to be asked to attend the event and see firsthand how well this partnership works. I hope the programme continues for many years to come as football in Northern Ireland from the ground up has made such significant gains with the aid of the Irish FA and McDonalds.”

McDonald’s Ballymena Franchisee Des Lamph commented,
“At McDonald’s Ballymena we have a long standing commitment to serving the community in which we operate and to providing a safe environment for football that is both fun and inclusive. I’m delighted that Ian Paisley Junior MP has paid us a visit to see how the McDonald’s Irish FA partnership is delivering for local children in his constituency.”
Local Irish FA Grassroots Development Officer Wesley Gregg added,

“I’d like to thank Ian Paisley Junior MP for taking time out of his busy schedule. I know the children were delighted to meet him and his attendance is a glowing endorsement of the programme we are delivering with McDonald’s.”

The McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards also build on the continued commitment of McDonald’s to improve standards of community football and to increase participation across all aspects of the game. Nominations are currently open at or and people are encouraged to follow the McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards on twitter @2014Grassroots.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley and Olympic hero Jonny Brownlee welcomed children from schools from around the country to the 100th Tata Kids of Steel Triathlon at the Terrace Pavilion of the Houses of Parliament today.

In the first triathlon event ever to take place in the Houses of Parliament, kids from around the country as well as many others from around the country swam, cycled and ran to help Tata Steel towards their target of completing an Olympic-length triathlon in an hour and a half. Olympic bronze-medal triathlete Jonny Brownlee and Paralympian Lauren Steadman attended the event, providing much appreciated training tips and advice for the junior triathletes.

The success of Team GB triathletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games was a massive boost to the sport of triathlon in the UK, inspiring the next generation of triathletes to be more involved and active in the sport than ever before. Tata Steel and the British Triathlon Foundation, the sport’s charitable arm, collectively aim to introduce youngsters to the sport and encourage them to take it up.

Mr Paisley said: “The work TATA Steel and the British Triathlon Federation have been doing to promote a healthy lifestyle for young people has been invaluable so I hope they can build on the work they have already done. From a Northern Ireland perspective I am delighted to welcome such a major employer in Co. Antrim to the Parliamentary Terrace for this wonderful event.”

Zara Hyde Peters OBE, CEO of British Triathlon Federation and Trustee of the British Triathlon Foundation Trust, added: “We’re delighted to continue to work alongside Tata Steel in this partnership, which has been a big success in our seven-year relationship, benefiting both UK children and the development of our sport.

“The series has been the catalyst for the creation of our charitable arm, the British Triathlon Foundation, which was set up to help us inspire a generation.”

Sytske Seyffert, Director of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs at Tata Steel, said: “2013 has been the seventh year we have worked alongside the British Triathlon Federation to organise Tata Kids of Steel™ and we are delighted to be able to celebrate the series in Parliament with this 100th event. Nearly 60,000 children have experienced triathlon since the series launched in 2007. Our events enable children to have a fantastic day out while actively participating in sport. Many of our employees volunteer at the events, which help us to strengthen the long-term partnerships we have with our communities.”

Tata Kids of Steel is a children’s triathlon series organised by British Triathlon in partnership with Tata Steel, with the aims of encouraging children across the country to have a fun, positive experience of sport and of inspiring them to adopt a healthier lifestyle through sport and exercise.

This year’s Tata Kids of Steel series has seen more than 8,000 youngsters take up the challenge to each swim, cycle and run part of the distance between London and the next Olympic host city Rio de Janeiro, our way of inspiring a generation to take up sport and to help in securing the 2012 Olympic legacy.

Ian Paisley MP congratulates Michael Dunlop on his haul of Isle of Man TT victories.

Speaking after the victories of Michael Dunlop in the Isle of Man TT, Ian Paisley said:

“What a phenomenal achievement by yet another Dunlop in the Isle of Man TT. Michael comes from a legendary biking family and is quite clearly capable of following the giant footsteps that Joey and Robert laid before him.

We look forward in great anticipation to watching Michael’s career unfold and hopefully watching another generation of Dunlop dominate the world biking stage for many years to come.

This guy has the complete package, the skill and personality to bring the crowds in and keep the sport as popular as it ever has been. Well done Michael, keep it going!”

Nike, Designed to Move

May 20, 2013

Ian Paisley MP launches Nike, Designed to Move program alongside Olympic medallist Paula Radcliffe in Parliament.

The event was aimed at raising awareness of the declining numbers of children who are currently taking part in physical activity across the UK. For the first time in history, today’s children now have a shorter life expectancy than their parents – a startling statistic.

Between 1961 and 2005 in the UK, physical activity of the entire population decreased by 20%, with this figure rising as high as 35% by 2030. Alongside this, between 1994 and 2008 the prevalence of obesity amongst adults increased 79% in men and 47% in women, and within children aged 2-10 it increased by 56%.

Paula Radcliffe

Physical inactivity has been identified as a major risk factor for all causes of mortality, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer, breast cancer and depression. The costs of inactivity to the NHS are around £21billion annually.

Speaking after the event, Ian Paisley said:

“It was a pleasure to welcome such a distinguished and world famous athlete to Parliament and promote such a great cause alongside her. Paula Radcliffe has long campaigned for healthy lifestyles across the UK and it was great for her and Nike to bring their experience to Westminster.

Adults and children alike across North Antrim and Northern Ireland should not underestimate the many positive physical and mental benefits from exercising. Not only do you become fitter and less at risk from illness, but it also helps ease anxiety and other issues.

Children should be encouraged to put down the computer games and start playing sport. Many life skills, social skills and friendships are formed through taking part in team activities at school. What’s more those who do take part in PE are proven to build bigger networks and perform better in their school work and jobs in later life, not to mention the reduced health care costs as you get older!

So as the summer approaches, parents and children alike should head outside and reap the many benefits that arise from physical activity!”