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Paralympic Village, Day Five: Double delight for McKillop

The Irish sprinter won his second gold medal, while Eilish Byrne came fourth in the Equestrian Individual Freestyle Test.

Ireland's Michael McKillop receives his Gold medal in the Mens 1500m - T37 from his mother Catherine at the Olympic Stadium.
Ireland's Michael McKillop receives his Gold medal in the Mens 1500m - T37 from his mother Catherine at the Olympic Stadium.

MICHAEL MCKILLOP WAS the star man for Team Ireland on Day Five, as he secured his second gold medal at the Paralympics.

And McKillop wasn’t the only Irish athlete to impress today – Eilish Byrne came fourth in the Equestrian Individual Freestyle Test – Grade II, narrowly missing out on a medal in the process.

Meanwhile, South African Oscar Pistorius was in the headlines once again.

After an outburst at a perceived lack of fairness relating to his loss to Alan Oliveira last night, he partially apologised for his remarks in a statement after the event.

What we learned today

  • The IPC and Oscar Pistorius will have to agree to disagree

The International Paralympic Committee defended its policy on artificial running blades for amputee athletes, insisting it was the best possible system.

But Peter Van Der Vliet, the IPC’s medical and scientific director, admitted that the rules may still need to be looked at, after beaten Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius questioned the validity of his rivals’ prostheses.

Pistorius, the most high-profile athlete at the London Games after he competed in the Olympics last month, said he had been at a disadvantage in terms of leg length after losing his T44 200m crown on Sunday.

The IPC rejected his claims and Van Der Vliet said the rules, designed to ensure artificial limbs are proportional to an athlete’s body, were “the best system in place and to the confidence and satisfaction of all involved”.

  • Ellie Simmonds just can’t stop breaking her own world record

British swim queen Ellie Simmonds broke her own world record twice, cementing her place as the host nation’s Paralympic poster girl in claiming her second gold of the London Games.

The 17-year-old won the SM6 200m individual medley in a record 3min 5.39sec, just hours after beating her own personal and world best in the heats with a time of 3min 6.97sec.

  • It’s been a good Paralympics for Jacqueline Freney

Australia’s Jacqueline Freney won her fifth gold of the London Paralympics, capping off a day of triumph by shattering a world record in the relay.

The 20-year-old, along with teammates Ellie Cole, Maddison Elliott and Katherine Downie, finished the 4x100m freestyle 34 point relay in a record 4min 20.39sec, with the United States claiming silver and Britain taking the bronze.

It was a double victory for Australia after their men’s team won the same event on Sunday.

Headline of the day

McKillop a class apart

There will be few Paralympics performances more emphatic than Michael McKillop’s gold medal win this evening. The athlete won the race by a substantial distance, finishing with a time of 4:08.11, while his nearest challenger was Australia’s Brad Scott (4:14.47).

Other news from Team Ireland

(McCarthy checks his time after the men’s 100m – T51 final – Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE)

Wheelchair sprinter John McCarthy finished seventh in the 100m T51 final earlier this evening.

In addition, the Irish trio of John Twomey, Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costello came tenth in the three person keelboat competition in the sailing today. They are now 11th in the overall standings.

Hero of the day

Apologies to Jacqueline Freney, but our slight Irish bias means Michael McKillop is the only candidate today.

You said what?

“It was great to do a double here in London. When I heard that the 1500m would be on the programme here, I was thrilled as I didn’t have this opportunity in Beijing. It means so much to be able to do this.

“I had agreed with my coach that I would work steadily until 800m and increase the pace gradually to see who would come with me. Only the Australian did so I increased the pace again. The plan worked.”

- Irish gold medalist Michael McKillop reveals his strategy prior to tonight’s race.

“I am absolutely delighted. To be fourth in the world is a magnificent feeling. I was a little nervous initially but once in the arena I didn’t really worry. I was happy and relaxed, lost rhythm a few times but nothing significant. I am not disappointed in any way to finish fourth and I couldn’t asked for anything more from Youri.”

- Ireland’s Eilish Byrne refuses to feel too downhearted after narrowly missing out on a medal win.

“I would never want to detract from another athletes’ moment of triumph and I want to apologise for the timing of my comments after yesterday’s race.”

- Oscar Pistorius partially apologises for his outburst after missing out on a gold medal last night.

Medal table (as of 22.59, Monday, September 3)

(Courtesy of the official Paralympics site)

Additional reporting by AFP

Read: Top bracket: Smyth happy to be among sprinting elite>

Read: Contrite: Pistorius apologises for ‘timing’ of prosthetic complaint>

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Paul Fennessy

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