It was a morning of debuts and personal bests for the first Team Ireland members in action at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The first action was in the swimming at Tokyo Aquatics Centre where Barry McClements became the first Irish athlete to compete at Tokyo 2020.
McClements first event was the S9 400m Freestyle Heat where he produced his best ever performance over the distance. Barry’s fifth placed finish was a new PB in a time of 4:27.11 but he narrowly missed out on a place in the final by 1 second as he finished 9th overall with 8 progressing through to this evening’s final. There was more good news to come as 2nd time Paralympian, Nicole Turner, also produced a personal best performance in the S6 50m Freestyle to finish in 5th place in her heat with a time 35:36 meaning that she will return for the final in the evening session. Also, into the final is first time Paralympian Róisín Ní Riain who had a debut to remember. The 16 year old Limerick native made light of being in the pool for the first time at a Paralympic Games as she powered to 3rd place in the S13 100m Freestyle heat and finished with a 3 second personal best performance of 1:08:18. That performance secured her place in the final where she will join Nicole Turner on the blocks with an opportunity to race for a medal.
The Izu Velodrome also welcomed the first of the Irish Para Cyclists into action today. Paralympic debutant Richael Timothy competed in the C1-C3 3000m Individual Pursuit where she produced a blistering performance just narrowly missing out on a place in the final. She took the pace out hard from the beginning and kept a steady pace as she bore down on the aero bars before catching her opponent, Marzinke, on the third lap. Her finish of 4:11.69 was a huge 14 second personal best as she just missed out on a place in the final with an overall finish of 9th place in a race where the world record was broken twice.
Colin Judge showed incredible character in his Class 3 men’s singles qualifying event first round match. Paired up against World number 6, Zhao Ping, it was always going to be difficult for Colin. It was a nervous start for the Dubliner who was making his first ever Paralympic appearance, and he lost that first set 11-6. However, he got to grips with his opponent in the second set taking Zhao to 9-9 but the Chinese star scored two quick consecutive points to leave Judge needing to win the remaining 3 sets. The third set was Judge’s best as he once again drew level with Zhao at 9-9 and then 10-10 but Judge wasn’t going to be denied this time and took the set 12-10. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for Judge as Zhao found another gear clinching the 4th set and the match 11-6. Colin will now hope that Zhao wins his second match this evening and that he can beat his Brazilian opponent tomorrow in order to have hope of advancing to the next round.
Tokyo 2020 Team Ireland Day 1 Results
Barry McClements, S9 400m Freestyle, 4:27.11, 5th position (9th overall)
Nicole Turner, S6 50m Freestyle, 35:47 (PB) *advances to final
Róisín Ní Riain, S13 100m Butterfly, 1:08.18 (PB) * advances to final
Richael Timothy, C1-3 3000m Individual Pursuit, 4:11.69 (PB)
Colin Judge, Class 3 Men’s Singles Qualifying, (7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 6-11)
Tokyo 2020 Team Ireland Day 1 Finals Schedule
10:46 Nicole Turner, S6 50m Freestyle
11:38 Róisín Ní Riain, S13 100m Butterfly
Tokyo 2020 Team Ireland Day 2 Schedule
02:00, Cycling (Track B3 1000m Time Trial), Katie-George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal
02:49, S13 100m Backstroke, Heat, Róisín Ní Riain
03:05, SB8 100m Breaststroke, Heat, Ellen Keane
07:17, Cycling (Track C4-5 1000m Time Trial), Ronan Grimes
09:53, Equestrian Grade IV Individual Test, Rosemary Gaffney
*11:12, S13 100m Backstroke, Final, Róisín Ní Riain
11:20, Table Tennis Class 3 Men’s Singles Qualification Round, Colin Judge
*11:40, SB9 100m Breaststroke, Final, Ellen Keane
12:33, Equestrian Grade V Individual Test, Tamsin Addison