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Athletics: McKillop breaks 800m world record to claim gold

Michael McKillop had reason to celebrate on two fronts when he won the 800m title in world-record time at the Paralympic World Athletics Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand yesterday -- Ireland's first gold medal in the championships.

This time the young man from Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, who has a mild form of cerebral palsy, did receive the gold medal which was denied him by the rules when he won Tuesday's 1500 m -- because there were only two competitors.

On that occasion McKillop set a world record and yesterday the 21-year-old repeated the feat when winning the 800m in 1:58.90, almost half a second inside the old mark, which he set when winning the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

Unlike in Beijing, he ran hard from the gun and eventually won by four seconds from his big rival, Brad Scott of Australia (2:03.25).

"I decided to go from the gun to catch them out and it worked perfectly," said McKillop. "I tightened up in the closing stages and it was a bit difficult in the wind but I felt I had the record in my legs".

Irish team manager James Nolan was impressed by McKillop's achievement and the maturity he showed in the lead up to the race and the run itself.

"Sometimes it can be more difficult when you are expected to deliver but Michael executed his plan perfectly and the result is a much appreciated gold medal for the Irish -- and a world record," he said.

Three Irish athletes compete in this morning's final session -- Catherine Wayland, Rosemary Tallon and Orla Barry -- all in the discus.

Irish Independent