After the excitement of Jason Smyth gold medal in the 100m yesterday evening it was back to business for Team Ireland. Three Irish athletes competed in the swimming pool in their heats and all three have progressed through to their respective finals whilst Kerrie Leonard has seen her campaign in Archery come to an end after a brilliant showing in Tokyo 2020. Philip Eaglesham is currently competing on the shooting range in the SH2 R4 Qualifiers.
Barry McClements was the first Irish athlete in the pool this morning where he set an excellent tone for what was to follow by qualifying from his heat with a personal best, his second in two events. Barry’s time of 1:06.31 saw him finish in 4th place in his heat and 8th place overall to ensure he will be back for his first taste of Tokyo 2020 finals action,
“I’m good after that. I qualified and a PB. Happy, five days since I was in the pool racing. So it’s just about keeping ticking over. I always have the speed to go out fast. Just coming back I died a little bit but I set a personal best and qualified.”
Nicole Turner will have a lot of hope going with her into this evening’s finals after a wonderful performance in the S6 50m Butterfly. It took a World Record performance by her Chinese rival Yuyan Jiang to deny Turner the race win but as it is she will compete in the final after being the second fastest overall in her favoured event.
“That went really well. This is my favourite event and to qualify second fastest, when I thought I would qualify third, that really drives me and I can’t wait for the final this evening.”
Ireland’s youngest and busiest Paralympian, Róisín Ní Riain, returned to the pool again this morning for the heats of the S13 200m Individual Medley and she again produced an outstanding performance with a third place finish to guarantee her progression to the final which means that all three Irish athletes will compete in today’s finals session. Despite the quality of her performance Róisín is adamant that there is more to come:
“It was okay, an alright swim, I would have liked it to be a bit faster but I got another chance tonight. Hopefully I can do well then.”
Kerrie Leonard’s brilliant Paralympic Games experience was brough to an end this morning under the blazing Tokyo Sun by Stepanida Artakhinova of the Russian Paralympic Committee. Leonard was in contention throughout the head to head 1/8 round match until the 3rd end where Kerrie shot a costly 24 compared to her opponents 29. She did manage to win the next end with a superb 29 but the damage had been done at this stage and Artakhinova was able to see it out for the win. Leonard was pleased with her first Paralympic experience and is already looking forward to more:
‘It’s amazing to have made the last 16 in the Paralympics and it shows, if you’re given the opportunity, just how much you can do if you go for it.’
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Team Ireland Schedule Day 6
S9 100m Backstroke Heat, Barry McClements, 1:06.31 4th Place (PB) Qualifies for Final
01:45am, S5 50m Butterfly Heat, Nicole Turner, 36:54 2nd Place (PB) Qualifies for Final
02:57am, S13 200 Individual Medley Heat, Róisín Ní Riain 3rd Place 2:34.24 Qualifies for Final
10:59am, Women’s Individual Compound Open, 1/8 Eliminations, Kerrie Leonard Def 131-141
05:15, SH2 R4, Qualifiers, Philip Eaglesham