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Michael McKillop burns off competition to take 800m gold at IPC European Champs

The Antrim man put his foot injury trouble behind him to put in a powerful second lap in Swansea.

Image: Chris Vaughan/SPORTSFILE

Updated 19.15

IRELAND’S MICHAEL MCKILLOP continued his middle distance dominance in IPC events with gold in today’s T38 800m European Championship final.

The reigning Paralympic champion claimed Ireland’s second gold of the meet, leading the race from wire to wire.

However, he had Russia’s Chermen Kobesov hot on his heels throughout the first lap.

After the bell, McKillop opened his stride and kicked ahead leaving Kobesov unable to respond. The Antim man finished in a time of 1:57.16 – eight seconds ahead of his challenger with Ukraine’s Valentyn Miedviediev claiming bronze.

“I won’t lie, that was tough,” McKillop said immediately afterwards, “but I’m delighted to win the medal.

“The Russian is a really strong 400m runner, and I knew he’d run 51 seconds over that distance so it was really important for me to take it out hard or he would have out-kicked me and that’s what I did. I pushed on for 200m after the bell and then just got through it from there.”

“This is only my first 800m race of the season [due to a foot injury]. It’s tough at the best of times facing into your first 800m of the season but for it to be a Championship final and only on the back of two 1500m races all season makes the win all the more satisfying.”

2014 IPC Athletics European Championships - Wednesday 20th August Source: Chris Vaughan/SPORTSFILE

In the T51 class, wheelchair racer John McCarthy followed up his fourth place in yesterday’s 400m with fifth in the 100m final today.

Dublin’s Andrew Flynn made his major championship bow, running a personal best 16:47.69 in the T13 5,000 metres, though it was not enough to trouble Spain’s Alberto Suarez Laso who led from the start and won with a time of 14:56.03.

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Sean Farrell

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