Ireland’s Greta Streimikyte stormed her way to a fantastic Personal Best finish in the final of the T13 1500m on Day 3 of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, when she finished in fourth in a new Irish Record, crossing the line in a time of 4.45.06.
In a fast race where the pace was set by eventual winner, Samaya Bousaid from Tunisia, the field was forced to respond quickly, with Streimikyte holding on until the final sprint when she finished in 5th position. She was subsequently upgraded to 4th with the disqualification of Mexican athlete, Molando Velasco.
“It was a fast race and I still need time to process what happened,” she said afterwards. “But it was a fast race and I did a PB, that is great you know. The race pace ruined my tactics because in the heats I led the field but here, the field led me and I had to push. It is a championship race and you never know. I am happy and look forward to Tokyo.”
Also commenting on her performance, James Nolan, Head of Paralympic Athletics said: “I am massively proud of Greta, a huge Personal Best for her. She put herself in a position to take the bronze if it became available. You cannot ask for any more than to arrive at the biggest race of your life and to run your fastest time ever.”
Also in action in the Olympic Stadium was Paralympic debutant, Orla Comerford, who ran in the heats of the T13 100m. Comerford was quickly out of the blocks and finished her heat in 4th place with a Seaon’s Best time of 12.81, to progress to tomorrow’s final which will take place at 3pm Irish time.
“I am really chuffed to make the final,” the Howth student said. That was the aim going in here. I have achieved what I wanted to and now it is a matter of seeing what I can do in the final. Hopefully I can do that.”
Meanwhile, also in action today was Laois swimmer Nicole Turner who qualified for her second Paralympic final in as many days, when she put in an impressive swim in the S6 50m Freestyle heat to touch home second in her heat in 36.70 and seventh overall. Speaking after the race the 14-year-old was delighted to make another final “I’m really happy, the swim felt good enough, I feel like I can give it a bit more [in the final].”
She will be up against Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mareshko in the final tonight, who set a new Paralympic record in Heat 2 of the event with a time of 33.53 seconds.
Elsewhere, Irish para shooter Seán Baldwin was competing in his second of the Games – the R3 Mixed 10m Rifle Prone qualifier today and finished in a Season’s Best of 624.1 to finish in 33rd. Unfortunately, it was not enough to secure him a spot in this afternoon’s final.
Speaking afterwards, an upbeat Baldwin stated: “Today was an amazing day, I had a great start. I’m looking forward to Monday’s event and I’m shooting really well at the moment so once that keeps up I’ll be very happy.”
Raymond Kane, Shooting Team Leader commented: “I think Seán’s performance today reflected Seán’s story which is a wonderful story of the ability of humans to pick up the pieces after a setback. Seán’s two qualities are his positivity and his fortitude. I haven’t met anyone like him that can pick up the pieces and move on in a positive way.”
Seán’s next competition will be the Men’s R7-50m Rifle 3 Positions on Monday at 1.30pm Irish time.
Meanwhile, Team Ireland is busy once more this evening as Rena McCarron Rooney is currently competing in the women’s singles table tennis quarter finals, Nicole Turner will hit the pool for the final of the S6 50m Freestyle while the Irish CP 7-a-side football team will take on hosts Brazil in their second group game of the Games.