KIERAN CONQUERS ADVERSITY TO BID FOR OLYMPIC GLORY

20 January 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Irish gymnast Kieran Behan, who qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games last week, has strong connections with County Monaghan. Behan, whose mother Bernie (née Gavan) comes from Newbliss, sealed his place at the London games when finishing fourth in the floor final at the Olympic test event. The story of Behan’s journey to become only the second Irish gymnast to reach the Olympics is an inspirational one, as he has overcome serious adversity through the years.
 Aged just ten, Behan had a benign tumour removed from his thigh and the operation went wrong and damaged nerves in his leg, leaving him wheelchair-bound. Having defied the odds to return by the age of 12, an accident while using the high bar in a training session caused Kieran brain damage and left him in hospital for nine weeks. He was once again confined to a wheelchair and had to relearn simple skills. The injuries left him unable to train for three years and doctors told him they did not expect him to be able to walk again, never mind be able to do gymnastics. Again, he battled back to return to his sport and he has also overcome two cruciate-ligament injuries in recent years to get to where he is today.
 The 22-year-old, who specialises in floor exercises, had a great year in 2011, enjoying success in the European Championships in Berlin and the World Challenge Cup series in the Czech Republic. Behan’s latest achievement has seen him gain national prominence in Ireland, including a last-minute appearance on RTÉ’s ‘The Late Late Show’ last Friday, when …

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