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Paralympics: Heartache for McKillop after world-record run

Irish athlete Michael McKillop had mixed emotions after winning the 1500m at the Paralympic World Athletics Championships at Christchurch yesterday.

The 20-year-old knocked two seconds off the old world record when storming to victory in 4:15.70.

However, McKillop missed out on a medal as the rules state there must be a minimum of three competitors.

McKillop's only opponent was Khaled Hanani of Algeria and so the Irishman was denied a chance to receive a deserved gold to add to the one he won in the 800m at the Paralympic Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.

McKillop suffers from a mild form of cerebral palsy but has overcome his handicap to develop into an excellent runner and Irish officials in New Zealand, especially team manager and two-time Olympian James Nolan, are confident that the Antrim runner will complete the double in the 800m in tomorrow's final and perhaps lower the world record of 1:57.30.

McKillop is coached by his father, Paddy, and prepared for New Zealand by having six weeks warm-weather training in South Africa.

Ailish Dunne was sixth in the shot putt with 6.62m, and Nadine Lattimore was seventh with 6.12m.

McKillop's record-breaking run came on a day when the Paralympic Council of Ireland launched their plans for the 2012 Olympic Games. The launch took place in Dublin and it was announced that they hoped to have a team of 70 competitors in London.

A new Paralympics logo has been designed which reflects the dynamism of Irish paralympic sport, with chief executive officer Liam Harbison declaring: "The launch marks a very significant milestone in the history of our organisation."

The launch was officially made by RTE's Colm Murray, who has reported at three previous Paralympic Games in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Irish Independent