Monday 11 November 2019

Paralympian athletes return to heroes' welcome

Team Ireland athletes Michael McKillop, who won gold in both the T38 800m and T37 1500m, Niamh McCarthy, who won silver in the F41 Discus, and Noelle Lenihan, who won silver in the F38 Discus, arrive home to Dublin Airport. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Team Ireland athletes Michael McKillop, who won gold in both the T38 800m and T37 1500m, Niamh McCarthy, who won silver in the F41 Discus, and Noelle Lenihan, who won silver in the F38 Discus, arrive home to Dublin Airport. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Irish Paralympian athletes were given a heroes' welcome at Dublin Airport as they came home with seven medals - four of them gold.

The team of 10 returned amidst applause and cheers after their historic success at the Para Athletics World Championships in London.

Four golds were split between Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth, while the Cork trio of Niamh McCarthy, Orla Barry and Noelle Lenihan all won silver.

Double gold medallist McKillop, who once again claimed honours in the 800m and 1,500m, said he sees his disability as a positive.

"Starting out in life, I was told that I had a disability and for my parents it was probably heartbreaking, but they used my disability as a positive and put me on the world stage," he told RTÉ News.

"They have helped me get there, but I think every time I go out to compete I have the nervousness of wanting to do my family proud."

Smyth once again claimed gold for the double sprint, while new Irish stars emerged in Lenihan, Barry and McCarthy.

Fantastic

"It's fantastic for me to compete in the Paralympics because it gives me the opportunity to showcase the sport and to show just how capable these athletes are and how they work just as hard and even harder than able-bodied athletes," Lenihan said.

Sports Minister Shane Ross congratulated the Irish team, saying: "These results are a tribute to the hard work, commitment and dedication of all the team to reach the highest levels in your sport and you have once again proved yourselves to be excellent ambassadors for Ireland."

Irish Independent

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