Teen Turner happy with final effort
Teenage swimming prodigy Nicole Turner continued to defy her inexperience by reaching her third straight Paralympic final in Rio last night, the 14-year-old from Portarlington finishing seventh in the S6 200m individual medley final in 3:18.18.
"It was a really good swim," said Turner, of the race won by Ellie Simmonds in a world record time of 2mins 59.81 seconds. "I normally struggle on the backstroke so I was delighted to keep in there and make another final."
There was no such joy for teammate James Scully, who earlier in the day was knocked out in the heat of the 50m freestyle after finishing sixth in 37.38. Though dejected at missing out on the final, Scully had the consolation of a lifetime best.
"My hunger for this Games has been second to none," he said. "I'm coming in here really wanting those PBs those top performances. Finals, medals and placings are secondary. I'm here to beat myself."
Galway's Deirdre Mongan was another left frustrated after finishing fifth in the F53 shot put final. The 38-year-old was ranked fifth of the seven entrants based on her season's best, which understandably had her thinking a place on the rostrum might be her ultimate destination on her sojourn to the Olympic Stadium. But in sweltering conditions, her chances melted away.
Mongan's best effort was the 4.01m she threw in the opening round, well down on her best of 4.26m. As it turned out, she would have needed a lifetime best of 4.28m to make the medals in a competition won by Bahrain's Fetema Nedham with 4.76m.
"It was way off what I wanted or would have expected," said Mongan.
"The conditions were not great and it's disappointing when you know you are capable of more. I do struggle in the heat and was unfortunate to be throwing on one of the hottest days."
Elsewhere, para shooter Seán Baldwin was in action for the third time but could only manage a 20th-place finish in yesterday's rifle 3 positions qualifier, well shy of the top eight placing he needed to advance.
Ever the optimist, the 48-year-old was quick to turn his thoughts to tomorrow's event. "Today was a hard start," he said. "My prone was very strong, but standing again I struggled to hit the 10. I am really enjoying the day and looking forward to Wednesday."
Looking ahead, the swimmers will once again take centre stage for the Irish today, with Nicole Turner making a quick turnaround to compete in the S6 400m freestyle at 1:55pm, where a medal will likely still prove just beyond her. She will be followed soon after by Ailbhe Kelly, who will go in the heats of the S8 100m backstroke at 3:16pm.
The sonar sailing trio of Ian Costelloe, John Twomey and Austin O'Carroll finished 10th and 14th in their opening races yesterday, and will return to the water today for races three and four throughout the afternoon. In shooting, Phillip Eaglesham will be the sole Irish competitor, going in the R5 mixed 10m rifle prone qualifier.