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Paralympic Village: Joy for Kearney and Barry on Day Six

It was a historic day in London, with a number of world records being broken.

Ireland's Orla Barry celebrates her third place finish in the women's discus throw F57/58 at the Olympic Stadium.
Ireland's Orla Barry celebrates her third place finish in the women's discus throw F57/58 at the Olympic Stadium.

WHAT IS THERE left to say about Team Ireland’s performance?

Orla Barry and Helen Kearney continued the country’s astonishing success on Day Six of the Paralympics.

And these Games, in general, have been pretty extraordinary, with more world records than ever set to be broken.

Read on for more details on what has been another incredible day in London.

What we learned today

  • Natalie du Toit is a Paralympics legend

Natalie du Toit claimed her 12th Paralympic swimming gold at the London 2012 Games as China’s Xu Qing said a lucky shark tattoo had helped him break another world record in the pool.

Du Toit won the women’s 400m S9 freestyle at the Aquatics Centre, the 28-year-old South African taking her 12th career gold in a time of 4:30.18.

She was one of several stars who successfully defended their Beijing 2008 golds on a busy night in the pool, including Xu, Mirjam de Koning-Peper of the Netherlands, Britain’s Heather Frederiksen and Konstantin Lisenkov of Russia.

  • The standard at these Games is higher than ever
The London Paralympics were on course to break an unprecedented number of world records as the Games hit half-way.

The IPC said the athletes at the 2012 edition were on course to break more world records than the 279 achieved in Beijing four years ago.

In the first half of the Games to Tuesday, 137 new world records were set, with a further 81 new Paralympic bests.

Some 197 medals had been won by athletes from 63 countries, in the 228 completed medal events of the 503 at the Games, with China well ahead of Great Britain, Russia and Ukraine at the top of the table.

  • Irish equestrian sport is in rude health

Helen Kearney’s win today represented the icing on the cake in what has been a fine year for the sport, owing to the medals won at the Paralympics coupled with Cian O’Connor’s triumph at the Olympics.

Hats off to all the athletes, trainers and anyone associated with the sport for the hard work they’ve evidently put in in recent months.

  • Oscar Pistorius is a lucky boy

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said South African sprint star Pistorius would face no action for his trackside comments about the running blades of Brazil’s Alan Oliveira, who handed him a shock defeat on Sunday.

A new friend we met today: Rim Ju-Song

Reclusive North Korea meanwhile made its maiden appearance at the Paralympics but 16-year-old swimmer Rim Ju-Song trailed in last in his S6 50m freestyle swimming heat.

“I’m very honoured to be the first Paralympian. I’m encouraged that many people cheered for me,” said the wild card.

Headline of the day

Kearney completes hat-trick

The Irish rider overcame stiff competition, including the challenge of her international colleague Geraldine Savage (who ended up coming fifth), to secure a bronze – her third medal of the Games thus far.

Other news from Team Ireland

It was also a good day for Team Ireland in sailing. Following their tenth place finish yesterday, the trio of John Twomey, Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costelloe finished in an impressive second place today, and are now ninth overall.

There was good news too for Sean Baldwin, who recorded a personal best of 585, and only marginally missed out on a place in the final, coming 18th overall in the R6-50m rifle prone-SH1.

Irish gold medallist Darragh McDonald could not replicate his earlier success despite qualifying for the 50m freestyle S6 Paralympic final, as he finished in eighth place with a time of 33.26 this evening.

Another Irish medallist, James Dwyer, was sixth in the individual freestyle test – grade IV this morning.

And finally, Ray O’Dwyer finished fifteenth in the final of the F34 Shot Put.

You said what?

“I am not a sprinter, so I am really happy to get another gold medal under my belt. It is a bit of a shock. I think Siobhan Paton winning the six gold medals at the Sydney Paralympics was my inspiration for tonight.”

“I thought with my first throw I might not make it into the final but it ended up winning me a bronze medal. I don’t know how that happened really but I came here to get on the podium and I am going back with a bronze medal. I am absolutely delighted.

- Australia’s Jacqueline Freney reacts to winning six gold medals.

“It doesn’t matter that it was not my best performance, a medal is a medal.

“It makes up for Beijing, I am still learning, I am only 22 and Rio is ahead of me. I’ve gone from fifth to third and if that trend continues, we’re looking at great stuff. “

“I tried to go in and put pressure on them. I know when I went into my second round I was in third position. I should have relaxed more but I don’t think I did. But a medal is a medal.”

- Orla Barry describes her feelings upon winning bronze this evening

Hero(es) of the Day

The 80,000-seater Olympic Stadium, who fell silent for the men’s F11 long jump final, in which athletes with little or no vision take off aided only by the sound of their coaches’ calls and claps.

To give the competitors the best chance of performing well, the venue descended into a rare hush.

Medal table as of 23.04pm, September 4th

Courtesy of the official Paralympics site.

Additional reporting by AFP.

Read: President congratulates magnificent McKillop on double gold>

Read: Poll: Have you been watching the Paralympic Games?>

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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