Lynch just pipped at the post


Paralympic Games:Just 12 hundredths of a second denied Colin Lynch Ireland’s first medal of these Paralympic Games this evening as he lost out in the bronze medal ride-off in the Individual Pursuit at the Velodrome. Lynch had led the race up until the final moment only to lose out to 2008 Paralympic champion France’s Laurent Thirionet.

Lynch took the lead in the race from the start and maintained his advantage of over a second for the first 2000m. However, the experience of the Frenchman came through when he clawed his way back over the final 1000m to edge Lynch out of the medals by a heartbreaking 0.12 seconds.

“I hadn’t met Thirionet on the track before, but I knew I had the measure of him on the road,” the 41-year-old said afterwards. “I am very disappointed with the result, I tried a strategy and it didn’t work. Next up is the team sprint, and after that I will switch my focus to the road.”

Earlier at the Velodrome, Catherine Walsh and pilot Francine Meehan got their Paralympics off to an ideal start, recording an Irish record as they finished fifth in the one-kilometre time-trial. The Irish pair’s main event is Sunday’s 3km tandem pursuit.

Walsh, a partially sighted former track athlete who is competing at her fifth Games, was thrilled with the performance, telling reporters: “It’s a personal best and Irish record. We’re delighted. We’re happy. This was just a dress rehearsal for the 3km for us.”

Aileen McGlynn of Great Britain relinquished her title and had to settle for silver alongside pilot Helen Scott. McGlynn, who is partially sighted, and Scott clocked one minute 9.469 seconds to finish 0.550secs behind Australia’s Felicity Johnson and Stephanie Morton, who stole victory in a Paralympic record of 1min 8.919secs.

New Zealand’s Phillipa Gray and Laura Thompson claimed bronze in 1:11.245, with Lora Turnham and Fiona Duncan fourth in 1:11.479. Ireland’s Walsh and Meehan were fifth in 1:12.864.

Enda Smyth set his second personal nest of the Games, clocking 3:47.542 in the Individual Pursuit C3 Qualifiers. Smyth knocked 5 seconds off his previous national record and finished seventh overall.

Elsewhere, Bethany Firth will be aiming for a medal after qualifying fourth fastest for the 100 backstroke S14 final in the Aquatic Centre. And Laurence McGivern advanced to the final of the men’s 100 metres backstroke S9, taking two seconds off his Irish record in the process.

“I came here and wanted to do a PB and I’m delighted that it was enough to get me into the final, I’m up against the world’s best here so that’s what motivated me the most,” McGivern said after his heat. “Normally I swim better in the evening, I did a big PB this morning so if I can go better that would be amazing”.

Over at the Olympic Stadium, 15-year-old Heather Jameson finished seventh in the Long Jump F37/38 final. The Garristown native jumped a new best of 4.11 metres on her second attempt.

At the ExCel Arena Philip Quinlan lost his table tennis preliminary match against Great Britain’s Rob Davies 11-6, 11-6, 11-7. Rena McCarron Rooney remains hopeful that she can still progress after beating Maha Bargouthi of Jordon but she is relying on results elsewhere going her way.

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