Paralympics Day 6: Three Irish swimmers make finals

After the excitement of Jason Smyth’s gold medal in the 100m on Sunday, it was back to business for Team Ireland. Three Irish athletes competed in the swimming pool in their heats, all of them made it to their respective finals, whilst Kerrie Leonard saw her campaign in archery come to an end after a brilliant showing in Tokyo 2020.

arry McClements was the first Irish athlete in the pool on Monday where he set the tone for what was to follow by qualifying from his heat with a personal best, his second in two events. Barry’s time of 1:06.31 saw him finish fourth in his heat and eighth overall to ensure he will be back for his first taste of Tokyo 2020 final action.

“I’m good after that. I qualified and a PB. Happy, five days since I was in the pool racing. So it’s just about keeping ticking over. I always have the speed to go out fast. Just coming back, I died a little bit, but I set a personal best and qualified,” he said.

Nicole Turner will have a lot of hope going with her into today’s final after a wonderful performance in the S6 50m Butterfly. It took a world-record display by her Chinese rival Yuyan Jiang to deny Turner the race win, but as it is, she will compete in the final after being the second fastest overall in her favoured event.

“That went really well. This is my favourite event and to qualify second fastest, when I thought I would qualify third, that really drives me and I can’t wait for the final this evening,” she said.

Ireland’s youngest and busiest Paralympian, Róisín Ní Riain, returned to the pool again on Monday for the heats of the S13 200m Individual Medley and she again produced an outstanding performance with a third-place finish to guarantee her progression to the final.

Despite the quality of her performance, Róisín is adamant that there is more to come: “It was okay, an alright swim, I would have liked it to be a bit faster but I got another chance tonight. Hopefully, I can do well then.”

Kerrie Leonard’s Paralympic Games experience was brought to an end on Monday under the blazing Tokyo sun by Stepanida Artakhinova of the Russian Paralympic Committee.

Leonard was in contention throughout the head-to-head last-16 match until the third end when Kerrie shot a costly 24 compared to her opponents 29. She did manage to win the next end with a superb 29, but the damage had been done at that stage and Artakhinova was able to see it out for the win. Leonard was pleased with her first Paralympic experience and is already looking forward to more:

“It’s amazing to have made the last 16 in the Paralympics and it shows, if you’re given the opportunity, just how much you can do if you go for it.”

In shooting, Phil Eaglesham produced a PB performance to finish with a score of 626.6, adding 3.9 to his total. It left him in 14th place overall.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Team Ireland Schedule Day 6

S9 100m Backstroke Heat, Barry McClements, 1:06.31 4th Place (PB) Qualifies for Final (9.14am)

01:45am, S5 50m Butterfly Heat, Nicole Turner, 36:54 2nd Place (PB) Qualifies for Final (9.58am)

02:57am, S13 200 Individual Medley Heat, Róisín Ní Riain 3rd Place 2:34.24 Qualifies for Final (11.42am)

10:59am, Women’s Individual Compound Open, 1/8 Eliminations, Kerrie Leonard Def 131-141

05:15, SH2 R4, Qualifiers, Philip Eaglesham

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