McKillop Returns with 4th Placed Finish
Michael McKillop secured a slot for Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games by finishing in the Top 4 in the T38 1500m final in Dubai. David Leavy produced his best ever performance to finish in 9th place overall with a great time of 4:23:86 in the same race. Mary Fitzgerald competed for Ireland for the first time at a major championship and came away with a brilliant 7th place finish in the F40 Shot Put with a throw of 6.87m.
ichael McKillop made his return to competition to defend his world championship title which he last won in 2017. The 4 time Paralympic gold medallist and 5 time World Champion finished in 4th position in a new T37 Championship record time of 4:09:07. McKillop also secured a slot for Ireland at the Paralympic Games by finishing in the Top 4.
McKillop had missed more than 2 years of competition following a serious injury that required surgery within the last year and threatened his career. However, Michael battled back from that set back to secure 4th place in his first major championship appearance since winning the world championships at London in 2017.
Speaking immediately after his race Michael said ‘Before I came out here I prepared as best I can but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to go with the pace from a long distance out. I’ve just had 8 months in my legs, that’s it. So, if I can do that in another 8 months, another year or just below a year on top of this it will get me back in the medals and hopefully back on top of the podium but, again, tonight wasn’t my night, that’s sport for ya, the better people beat me.’
David Leavy also competed in the same event and was delighted with his performance as he finished in 9th position with a new personal best time of 4:23:86 taking 2 seconds off his previous best performance. ‘I feel ecstatic tonight, coming into this competition I had some really difficult and bad performances throughout the year so I felt quite lucky to be here but I felt with my training’s been pretty consistent throughout the year and that I could come here and make a good show of it. Coming in here ranked 13th or 14th all season’s best and to come out and put in a performance and finish 9th, there’s nothing I could have done and I feel really pleased with the performance I put in.’
Kilkenny’s Mary Fitzgerald took the circle in the F40 Shot Put as the Men’s 1500m final featuring Michael McKillop and David Leavy got underway. The 20 year old Kilkenny native, who was competing in her first ever major international event came into the competition ranked at 7th in the world with a personal best of 7.01metres and she finished in that position just 14cm shy of that personal best performance.
Fitzgerald’s best effort came with her 5th throw of 6 and when she reached 6.87m with that attempt it secured her 7th placed finish. ‘I’m absolutely delighted ya, just short of my PB so I’m really happy with my year so far and to even get to the World Championships, I’m absolutely delighted to be here so ya it was a fabulous experience to be here and I’m delighted to get the result I did.’
The Irish team, including World Para Athletics medallists Niamh McCarthy and Jason Smyth will return to Dublin airport tomorrow at 6:55pm through Terminal 2.
World Para Athletics Championships, Dubai Day 9 Schedule
Mary Fitzgerald, Women’s F40 Shot Put, 6.87m (7th Place)
Michael McKillop, Men’s 1500m Final T38, 4:09:07 (4th Place)
David Leavy, Men’s 1500m T38 Final 4:23:86 (9th Place) *New Personal Best
Team Ireland Homecoming
Team Ireland will return to Dublin on Saturday, October 16th on Emirates Air flight no. 163, the flight is due to touch down at 6:55pm at Dublin Airport Terminal 2.