Sailors struggle on a difficult day in Rio while Keane finishes eighth in Freestyle final


The Irish Sonar sailing crew and swimmer Ellen Keane were in action for Team Ireland at the Paralympic Games in Rio this evening.

For the sailing team – who were competing in Races 9 and 10 – it was another difficult day on the water. They had been hoping to improve on their position going into today’s penultimate day of competition, but the Irish Crew found the conditions very difficult in Marina da Gloria. Unable to cope with the wind conditions, they were unable to improve on their overall ranking, finishing 12th in the first race of the day. The performance in the afternoon saw John Twomey and his crew continue to work hard with the fluctuating winds to finish in 12th place and now hold an fleet position of 13th going into tomorrow’s final race.

Speaking after the day’s event, 11-time Paralympian John Twomey said: “It’s a tricky place, we’re still trying to figure it out. The wind is really, really shifty and tricky so we had another tough day out there today.

“The wind would be light compared to Ireland but it’s bouncing all over the place, every leg of the race they shifted the marks and once you got caught on the wrong side of one of the shifts you were back out of the race.”

The Irish Skipper continued, “We’d like to be back in the top five tomorrow in our last race, like we did earlier in the week. Annalise Murphy is a star. That was a real credit to her to put it together here because this is the most difficult place I’ve ever sailed and I’ve been hanging around sailing a long time.”

Irish swimmer and Paralympic bronze medallist Ellen Keane was also in action this evening for her final race of the Paralympic Games. The 21-year-old was swimming in the S9 100m Backstroke final, following a fantastic PB swim of 1:15.44 in this morning’s heat which saw her qualify in seventh place going into the final and touched home in a time of 1:16.27 to secure eighth place.

Keane, who is competing at her third Paralympic Games, stated: “I’ve had three finals, two PBs (personal bests) and a medal so I can’t really complain. I think the pressure and the anxiety I was feeling coming into these Games definitely took it out of me, even though I had won the medal I still haven’t been sleeping at night and knowing that it was all going to be over soon, I didn’t want it to be over, I’m so excited to go home though and share the medal and the experiences with everyone.”

Keane is now looking forward to Tokyo 2020, adding: “I can’t wait for the next four years to begin, the tattoo on my back is the slogan from Beijing, ‘one world one dream’, and that’s definitely what I live by, I love the Paralympics, I love all of the athletes living in one place for two weeks, watching athletes do what they do, everyone coming together for this one event once every four years is definitely the most amazing feeling in the world.”

Meanwhile Irish swimmer Nicole Turner has been withdrawn from tomorrow’s S6 100m Freestyle heats on medical grounds. The 14-year-old has had a stunning Paralympic Games debut, having made finals in five out of five events, securing three brilliant lifetime bests times in the process. James Scully will be the final Irish swimmer in action at these Paralympic Games and will swim the S5 100m Freestyle at 2:56pm tomorrow.

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