Thursday 27 November 2014

McKillop delight after a 'tough, challenging year'

Paralympics

Cian Tracey

Published 25/08/2014 | 02:30

Team Ireland athlete Michael McKillop, from Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim pictured on his return at Dublin Airport from the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Wales. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Team Ireland athlete Michael McKillop, from Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim pictured on his return at Dublin Airport from the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Wales. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Michael McKillop capped a successful European Championships when he won his second gold medal in Swansea on Saturday.

The Antrim man added the T38 1500m title to the T38 800m one that he won last Wednesday. McKillop won in a time of 4:16.73, five seconds clear.

The 24-year old has been out injured (foot) for large parts of the last year and in what was only his third 1500m race of the season, he led from the off.

The pace was quite slow early on and with none of the athletes willing to break clear, McKillop took the responsibility with 650m left.

"It was the slowest first lap I can remember. I decided to go out front to ensure I wouldn't get tripped but it just stayed so slow I decided to pick it up," he said.

"Championships are about medals and I'm absolutely delighted to have won both here. After a tough, challenging year it's very satisfying to finish the season on such a high.

"Massive thanks and credit must go to my dad (Paddy), my coach, and all the team at SINI (Sports Institute Northern Ireland) and everyone who has had a hand in getting me back in such good shape at the right time."

Ireland finished the Championships with four gold and one silver medal. Head of athletics with Paralympics Ireland James Nolan said: "Our stretch target was five podium finishes. With all the variables in elite Paralympic athletics it is very rare to achieve your stretch target."

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