Monday 20 November 2017

'Life doesn't get much better' for McKillop after London glory

MICHAEL McKILLOP brought a memorable week for Irish Paralympians to a close in London by winning the T37/38 800m race at the Anniversary Games.

The Antrim native won two gold medals at the IPC World Championships last week and followed it by blitzing the field once again at the Olympic Stadium.

His success followed Orla Barry's silver medal in the F57/58 discus on the final day in Lyon that meant the Irish team returned home with five medals.

"Today has been unbelievable, life doesn't get much better when I have the chance to run in this stadium again," McKillop said. "This is where I found myself and discovered myself as an athlete, it pushed on to Lyon and it's just incredible to be back."

Cork's Barry broke the world record with her final throw of 31.08 in the F57 classification, but was beaten by F58 athlete Nassima Saifi of Algeria, who also broke the world record in her classification, hitting 42.05.

That meant she earned 1,031 points and left Barry in second on 1,002, but less than a year on from her bronze at the London Paralympics, the 22-year-old was happy with her display.

"I did what I came to do," said Barry. "I broke the world record and I'm delighted to be going home with a silver medal."

Team manager James Nolan paid tribute to Barry. "Orla's performances all year have been very consistent and regularly over 30m," he said.

"She has now produced a 31m-plus throw and the world record at the major championships, which is three metres further than her throw last year to win bronze at the Paralympic Games. The Algerian had to throw a world record to beat her. Silver is excellent and another step forward for Orla."

Former wheelchair rugby player Deirdre Mongan was the last Irish athlete to compete but she came up just short in fourth with a personal best in the F52/53 shot putt.

Nolan was happy with how his team performed. "It is obvious London 2012 had a huge impact on Paralympic sport" he said.

"Ireland, as a Paralympic athletics team, are moving with the development, maintaining the current elite group and focusing on the identification and recruitment of new athletes.

"This has been a very successful IPC World Championships for Ireland."

Irish Independent

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