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Medal worth wait for Orla and merry band of fans

HAVING waited more than three hours to finally find out she had won a bronze medal on Tuesday night, Orla Barry didn't mind holding on until yesterday morning to actually receive it.

The nature of the F57/58 discus dictates that the event moves slowly, but technical difficulties meant that the throwers were in the field for far longer than they are used to. By the time the medals were decided, the Olympic Stadium had almost emptied.

Those who had travelled from Ladysbridge, Co Cork, weren't going anywhere until they got to greet their hero, however, and Barry was mobbed as she made her way around the track by a crowd that included her grandfather, who had made the journey despite being in his mid-80s.

The Cork girl did not believe her first throw of 28.12 would earn her a place in the final, but in the end it earned her some precious metal.

And she reckoned that the delays on a fresh night in the English capital may have worked to her advantage.

longer

"It went on longer than any competition I've been involved in before," a delighted Barry said.

"It does get cold, I was wearing five layers for most of the evening.

"But maybe the cold helped me, most of my competitors were from much warmer countries and I'm used to this. To be honest, I was fine and they were freezing, so that might have helped.

"I think there was about 75 people over from Ladysbridge. My 85-year-old grandad was here and that makes it extra special. I'm over the moon."

And despite not being at her best, the 22-year-old reckons that the improvement on her fifth place in Beijing will stand to her as she begins to look towards Rio de Janeiro in four years' time.

"I was lucky, but I'll take it," she admitted. "I didn't think my throw would be long enough to even get me into the final, but it turned out to be good enough for a bronze medal. I suppose that's what happens at championships.

"I think I can get stronger and improve on this."

Irish Independent