McDonald claims second gold for Ireland
Paralympics: Ireland's Darragh McDonald has added Ireland’s second gold of the Paralympic Games, following fellow swimmer Bethany Firth to the top of the podium with a dominant performance in his S5 400m freestyle final.
The 18-year-old was untouchable from the start and smashed the personal best he set in the heats this morning, posting a time of 4:55.56 to finish nearly eight seconds ahead of world record holder Anders Olsson of Sweden. The gold comes four years after McDonald was second to Olsson in Beijing.
“I knew I had something left in the tank from this morning, but I didn’t know I’d be looking at that much," said McDonald. "To see Anders fall back so far was an amazing feeling. We knew it was going to be a two horse race. To get the edge on him from the beginning was a huge bonus for me. It spurred me on for the rest of it.
“I said before I started that I wasn’t going to think about times. I was just going to swim at my own speed.”
It is the first time in five attempts that he beat his great rival who is now 47.
James Scullywill swim in the 200m Freestyle S5 at 6.51pm after finishing sixth fastest in his heats this morning.
“Felt really strong, it’s the strongest I’ve felt ever really, it was slightly slower than my PB but I’m really happy with that, it’s the first time I’ve gone under 3 minutes this year, hopefully I can pick up some positives from this, fix some things and go faster”.
At Eton Dorney, the Irish mixed coxed fours - Kevin Du Toit, Sarah Caffrey, Shane Ryan and Anne-Marie McDaid, with Helen Arbuthnot as cox- finished fourth in the repechage, behind the crews from Ukraine, China and Canada, with a time of 3:34:85, to progress to tomorrow morning's B final (10.30am).
Catherine O’Neillbegan her campaign this morning with a fourth place finish in the women's club competition. A throw of 13.64m gother to the final but she managed only 13.05m when there and just missed on a medal.
“I threw well in the first three throws but it just didn’t happen for me," said O'Neill. "Disappointing. The atmosphere was quite distracting so I worked hard to block it out. I look forward now to my main event, the Discus.
On a morning when the world record was broken twice, cyclist Cathal Millerfailed to qualify for the 4km pursuit final in a time of 4.49.237.
“The wheels came off the wagon when Butterworth (GB) passed me," he said, "I feel I let everyone down”.
Meanwhile, in an event that is not their priority, James Brown and Damien Shawfinished ninth in the 1km Time Trial, in a time of 1.07.979. The duo, who have only been together since December, were silver medallists in the World Championships in February.
Speaking after the Irishmen clocked an average speed of almost 53kmph, Brown said: “We are happy with our performance, our main event is the 4km pursuit, if we concentrated on every event there would be something wrong, we got a PB, you can’t ask for much more.”
Shaw added: “It was great experience racing in front of the crowd again, the atmosphere here is brilliant.”