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Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

'I left my spikes out on the track and walked away' - Heartbreak for McKillop in 1500m final

Michael McKillop finished eighth in the Paralympic T38 1500m final.
Sep 4th 2021, 12:29 PM 63,482 10

FOUR-TIME GOLD medallist Michael McKillop finished eighth in the Paralympic T38 1500m final, clocking a time of 4:27.69.  

The 31-year old cut a devastated figure post-race and was consoled at the finish line by his fellow finalists. Canada’s Nate Riech stormed to gold with a Paralympic record of 3:58.92.

McKillop won gold in three previous Paralympics, 800m in 2008, a 800m/1500m double in 2012 and 1500m in 2016. Much of his success came in the T37 category, for athletes with cerebral palsy. Prior to the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships, the classification was changed. 

michael-mckillop-is-consoled-after-the-race-by-louis-radius Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The Antrim man struggled from the off and was unable to stay with a breakaway group with two laps to go. Algeria’s Abdelkrim Krai took silver with the bronze medal going to Australia’s Deon Kenzie.

“I just didn’t have anything in my legs. I don’t know why,” said a devastated McKillop post-race in an interview with RTE Sport. 

“To falter like I did is upsetting. It was going to be my last Paralympic games anyway but to go out like that, to lose my unbeaten streak in my T37 category is heartbreaking.”

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When asked if he was finished in the sport, the Antrim man said he would soon make a final decision. 

“I won’t say definitely, but it will be my last Paralympics games. I left my spikes out on the track and walked away. I know there is a time and a place to respect the sport that you are in.

“When you are not up to the standard, then you have to be honest with yourself. It is my dad’s last year. He is retiring this year so I don’t have a coach. Maybe it is the right time to go. 

“My wife has given up so much time and effort for me. Sacrificed so much for me. I think it is time I give back to my wife and my dogs.”

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Maurice Brosnan

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