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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Paralympic Village, Day Four: Team Ireland in dreamland

Meanwhile, there was disappointment for Oscar Pistorius, as he lost out to Brazil’s Alan Oliveira.

Ireland's Catherine Walsh and her pilot Francine Meehan.
Ireland's Catherine Walsh and her pilot Francine Meehan.

IT’S BEEN ANOTHER wonderful day for Team Ireland, with three more medals secured.

Helen Kearney, Catherine Walsh and Fran Meehan all did their country proud, exceeding expectations with their performances earlier.

And while Ireland have now won seven medals in total at these Paralympics, they still have a long way to go to break their record medal haul – 66 at the 1984 event.

What we learned today

  • Pistorius no longer the main man

Oscar Pistorius lost his T44 200m crown as Brazil’s Alan Oliveira stormed down the back straight to beat the South African on the line.

Pistorius, 25, had been first round the bend at the Olympic Stadium in east London but 20-year-old Oliveira took the race at the tape in 21.45sec, beating the “Blade Runner” by seven hundredths of a second.

  • Team Ireland go from strength to strength

Following their tremendous success last night, Team Ireland enjoyed yet more joy today. Helen Kearney helped her country win not one, but two Equestrian medals.

Meanwhile, Catherine Walsh and Fran Meehan earned a silver medal in the Women’s Individual B Pursuit this afternoon, with a time of 3.36.360. It wasn’t all good news however, as Bethany Firth, who won Ireland’s first gold at this year’s Paralympics, was forced to pull out of the 200m free S14 heats due to injury.

  • Matthew Cowdrey is the Paralympics’ answer to Michael Phelps

Australia swimming sensation Matthew Cowdrey secured his 10th Paralympic gold medal, leaving him just one more to get to become his country’s most successful athlete at the Games.

Cowdrey, 23, was last man to swim in the Australia quartet of Andrew Pasterfield, Matthew Levy and Cochrane Blake, leading the team home for victory in the men’s 4x100m freestyle 34 points relay in a Games record of 3min 50.17sec.

  • There’s been plenty of drama at the Velodrome this year

China set a world record as they defeated Great Britain in the thrilling final race at the Velodrome, meaning both track cycling teams finished the London 2012 Paralympics with five golds.

In an exciting farewell at the 6,000-capacity venue, China won the mixed C1 to C5 team sprint in 48.454 seconds, ahead of Britain in 49.519 — both faster than the world record China had earlier set in qualifying.

The Velodrome has proved a happy hunting ground for Britain, the hosts having won seven out of 10 golds during the Olympics and also topping the Paralympics medal table.

Headline of the day

Silver lining for Irish athletes
(Ireland’s Catherine Walsh and her pilot Francine Meehan celebrate winning silver – INPHO/Greg Smith)

While there were no golds like yesterday, the silver medals achieved by Helen Kearney, Catherine Walsh and Fran Meehan, coupled with the bronze in the Equestrian team event, was more than ample compensation.

Other news from Team Ireland

In addition to the aforementioned medal wins, there was some other distinguished performances from athletes representing Team Ireland.

In cycling, Katie George Dulevy and Sandra Fitzgerald came a respectable fifth in the Women’s Individual Pursuit at the Velodrome.

Meanwhile, Ireland finished eight overall in the Mixed Team Sprint C1-5.

Another impressive performer was 15-year-old Heather Jameson, who set a new personal best in the heats of the Women’s T37 100m, coming seventh overall.

In the 3 Person Keelboat Sonar sailing event, Ireland were seventh and eleventh in Race 3 and 4 respectively, and eleventh in the overall standings with 35 points.

As far as the Boccia BC 1-2 Mixed Team Pools were concerned, Ireland unfortunately lost both their matches – 14-3 against Korea and 11-2 against Brazil.

In rowing, the Irish team finished fourth, with a time of 3:36.72, behind Canada, France and Brazil, who made up the top three.

Finally, Roy Guerin was tenth in the Powerlifting 67Kg, which was won by Lei Liu of China, who triumphed with a score of 218.

Hero of the day

Helen Kearney wasn’t the only Equestrian athlete making waves. Dressage rider Lee Pearson joined the elite band of Paralympians with 10 gold medals as Great Britain won the London 2012 dressage team test with a world record score.

You said what?

“I am absolutely thrilled. I felt confident and knew that I had done what I could to prepare. It is an amazing feeling, a dream come true. I saw my family and it inspired me to perform in the competition” – Helen Kearney reacts to her tremendous achievement.

“I am actually flabbergasted. It is unbelievable. I had visualised winning many times in training but for it to happen in reality is something incredible.  The secret was consistency. All of us had a super rides over the past two days and every one of the team was consistent” – Not to be outdone, Irish team member James Dwyer reflects on today’s wonderful results.

“The IPC (International Paralympic Committee) don’t want to listen. The guys’ legs are unbelievably long. Not taking away from Alan’s performance, he’s a great athlete.

“But these guys are a lot taller and you can’t compete with the stride length.

“You saw how far he came back. We aren’t racing a fair race. I gave it my best.” – Oscar Pistorius cries foul.

Medal table (as of 10.02pm)

Courtesy of the official Paralympics site.

Additional reporting by AFP.

Read: Paralympics Update: Catherine Walsh and Fran Meehan secure a silver medal>

Read: Taoiseach congratulates Paralympic athletes on winning gold>

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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