Greta Streimikyte, Ireland’s first athlete on the track, suffered Paralympic heartbreak a second time when she finished fifth, in a time of 4:34.82, in an extremely fast and tactical T13 1500m final. Having finished fourth in Rio in 2016 and lowering her personal best to 4:29.33 this season she had high hopes of a podium finish but, in the 32 degree heat and 53% humidity, never looked her usual smooth self.
The race was quickly strung out by Ethiopian debutant Gezahagn Menigstu but the Dubliner bravely overtook the defending champion Somaya Bousaid with 300m to go, only for the Tunisian and Veronika Zotova (RPC) to come back and round her before the final bend in an eventful last lap. Menigstu (21) and America’s silver medallist Liza Corso both ran personal bests of 4:23.24 and 4:30.67 and 2016 champion Bousaid got up to take bronze.
“I’m very disappointed. I’ve run faster than that this season but it just wasn’t there tonight. I really tried so I have no regrets but I just don’t know what happened because I know I have more in me than this.
“I was fighting for bronze and I clipped the Tunisian and then a girl fell. There was a bit of drama on the track but that’s what happens when we’re all fighting for that medal but in the end it’s only the fastest that matters.
“I really went for it on the back straight because I saw the girl in second. I thought I can catch her, but then another girl came from nowhere and I knew I was done, even though I tried to keep going all the way through the finish line. I left it all out there.”
Elsewhere in the evenings activities it was a case of redemption for Michael Murphy in the Para Dressage team event. Murphy and his mount, Clever Boy, made up for their disappointment in the Individual Test on Day 2 with an exceptional performance in today’s team event. Their final score of 75.179 would have been good enough for 4th place in the Individual test. Next up was Kate Kerr Horan on Serafina T and, like Murphy, she saw a dramatic improvement in her performance as she recorded a score of 65.765 to leave the team with a total of 140.944 and lying in 8th position overnight with Tamsin Addison set to complete the performance tomorrow.
Earlier in the day the tandem pairing of Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal rounded off a brilliant week on the track for Team Ireland with a superb silver medal win in the 3000m Individual Pursuit. The duo had set a new world record in qualifying that was subsequently broken by the eventual gold medallists from Great Britain. Katie George and Eve performed wonderfully throughout the week and will have the huge boost of a Paralympic medal as their attention turns now to the road events. Elsewhere there were personal bests for Para Tandem sprinters Martin Gordon and Eamon Ryan, whilst in the Aquatics Centre it was another personal best for Nicole Turner in the SB6 100m heats.
Tomorrow will see another packed day of action as Paralympic Champion, Jason Smyth defends his T13 100m title whist Jordan Lee will make his Paralympic debut in the T47 High Jump. The Para Dressage team will complete their programme when Tamsin Addison competes in the Team event and Britney Arendse and Kerrie Leonard will compete in the Power Lifting and Archery competitions respectively.
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Team Ireland Results Day 4
SB6, 100m Breaststroke Heat, Nicole Turner, 1:40.82 (PB) 3rd place. Qualified for Final
SB6, 100m Breaststroke Final, Nicole Turner, 1:41.63
B3000m Individual Pursuit Heat, Katie George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal, 3:19:946 (PB) Qualified for Gold Medal Race
B3000m Individual Pursuit Final, Katie George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal, 3:21.505 Silver Medal
B1000m Time Trial Final, Martin Gordon & Eamon Byrne, 1:01.545 (PB)
Grade 1-V, Team Test to Music: Michael Murphy & Clever Boy, 75.179. Kate Kerr Horan & Serafina T, 65.765.
*Tamsin Addison and Fahrenheit compete on Day 5. Team Ireland overnight standing
T13 1500m Final, Greta Streimikyte, 4:34.82
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Team Ireland Schedule Day 5
02:09am, S13 50m Freestyle Heat, Róisín Ní Riain
02:25am, Archery 1/16 Eliminations, Women’s Individual Compound Open, Kerrie Leonard
04:35am, T13 100m Heat, Jason Smyth
05:00am, 73kg Power Lifting Final, Britney Arendse
10:08am, Team Grade V Para Dressage, Tamsin Addison & Fahrenheit
11:28am, T47 High Jump Final, Jordan Lee
*10:17am, S13 50m Freestyle, Róisín Ní Riain
*11:53am, T13 100m Final, Jason Smyth
**Subject to Qualification