After 12 days of competition and five years of preparation Team Ireland’s involvement at Tokyo 2020 has come to an end on the final day of the Paralympic Games. Team Ireland will return home on Tuesday, September 7th with a brilliant haul of seven medals including four golds, two silver and one bronze medal. Team Ireland’s final act of the games will come this evening will come as Katie-George Dunlevy, accompanied by Eve McCrystal, will carry the Irish flag into the Olympic Stadium one last time as the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are brought to an official end.
A TOP 12 place for Patrick Monahan in the T54 marathon brought Team Ireland’s involvement in the Paralympic Games to an end in the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo today. The 35-year-old from Kildare, classified as T53 but racing against mostly T54 athletes, finished in 12th in a time of 1:32.54, four places higher than his Paralympic debut in Rio five years ago and in very different conditions.
The Caragh man had done meticulous preparation in heat chambers for the expected heat but the race, which started at 6:30am locally, was played out in heavy rain and weather that was much more like home. Defending champion Marcel Hug and China’s Jong Zhang had a terrific tussle at the front before the Swiss superstar pulled away with just 2km remaining to win in one hour 24:02 minutes, winning his fourth gold medal of these Games.
Zhang took silver in a personal best of 1:24.22 and America’s Daniel Romanchuck got away from a four-man chasing group to win bronze in 1:29.05.
With most of the world’s big city marathons cancelled over the past two years due to COVID-19, it was a first race for Monahan in two years and he admitted that had made him very nervous beforehand.
“I was the most nervous I’ve ever been before a race because I hadn’t raced in two years. You’d be doubting yourself and it’s tough being on last but I’m happy with that, it was a decent pace.
“I usually look forward to racing but I was dreading it, the nerves were kinda getting the better of me, even this morning I was hoping I’d have grip. It’s such a tricky thing to get right so I’m glad it held up in the end.
“I’ve never prayed for rain before but I was actually praying for it here because I’d been struggling for grip here beforehand. The rain ended up being an issue at the start, the material was coming off my glove after 10km, but I had a spare pair in the back and they just held together.
“I got a poor start, I slipped on the rims a few times but I didn’t panic and got back into it and picked off a few lads as I went along. The course was tough enough and coming back was pretty hilly.
“It’s getting harder to get here, it was a very small field, so it’s a privilege to be here and hopefully I’ve inspired a few people at home to pass me out fairly quickly.