Monday 5 December 2016

Behan vows to come back stronger after Olympic dream ends

Independent.ie sportsdesk

Published 08/08/2016 | 02:30

Ireland’s Kieran Behan on the vault during the men’s artistic gymnastics qualification on Saturday, before suffering a dislocated knee on his first tumble on the floor. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ireland’s Kieran Behan on the vault during the men’s artistic gymnastics qualification on Saturday, before suffering a dislocated knee on his first tumble on the floor. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

A dislocated knee didn't prevent Kieran Behan's pursuit of his Olympic dream but a total score of 83.323 wasn't enough to book his place in the artistic gymnastics final.

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Behan had scored a personal best on the pommel before continuing his good form on the rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar and then turning his attention to the floor which is his preferred exercise.

However on his first tumble, disaster struck when Behan's left knee dislocated. There were no immediate signs that the injury had occurred, however, as the 27-year old somehow battled through the pain barrier to complete his routine.

"I nearly stopped after the first move but, I just thought, go for it and then I could feel it completely go after my dismount," Behan told the42.ie afterwards.

Kieran Behan of Ireland is helped from the field of play after suffering a suspected dislocated left knee. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Kieran Behan of Ireland is helped from the field of play after suffering a suspected dislocated left knee. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

"It's one of those things. As soon as my feet touched the ground on that first tumble and the knee went, I just knew that it was about survival and just getting through the rest of the routine."

Behan's journey to get to Rio has been far from straightforward. At the age of 11, he was left in a wheelchair after being diagnosed with a tumour in his left thigh.

Having made a remarkable recovery, he later hit his head on a bar in training and, as a result of the severe brain injury he suffered in the incident, he was again wheelchair-bound.

"I'll come back stronger," the inspirational athlete enthused.

Ellis O'Reilly also fell off the beam. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Ellis O'Reilly also fell off the beam. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"I don't know anyone that has had the journey I've had," he said, crutches by his side, in the bowels of the Rio Olympic Arena on Saturday night.

"It all depends on the financial state for me. I've gone through hell in terms of just trying to survive and keep my dream alive. It just depends on what happens there."

Meanwhile, Ellis O'Reilly became the first female gymnast to represent Ireland at the Games but she too suffered a similar fate to Behan.

The 18-year old fell during her beam exercise and although she performed well on the vault and the uneven bars, her overall score of 47.932 wasn't enough to progress.

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