McKillop to receive Paralympic award


Paralympic Games:Ireland’s Michael McKillop has been named as one of the two winners of the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award, which recognises the athletes who exemplified the best spirit of the Paralympic Games.

McKillop, who lit up the Olympic Stadium in London with gold-medal winning races in the 800m and 1,500m T37 events, consistently dedicates time to helping and encouraging thousands of school children throughout Ireland. He believes all Paralympians should help promote their own sports and serve as role models for the next generation.

McKillop and Kenya's Mary Nakhumicha Zakayo will receive a gold medal at Sunday’s closing ceremony, which will be presented by International Paralympic Committee vice president Greg Hartung and Dr Whang Youn Dai.

Zakayo, who competes in javelin and shot put F57, has helped changed the face of Paralympic sport in Africa.

Ireland’s Darragh McDonald came agonisingly close to a second medal on the final day of action at the Paralympic Games.  The 18-year-old won gold in the 400m freestyle S6 last Saturday and this morning qualified as the second fastest qualifier for the final of the 100m freestyle S6 when he finished in 1:10.59.

But even with a 1.5 second personal best McDonald was touched out by the 50m gold medallist Qing Xu, who set a new paralympic record of 1:05.82 to take gold. The Wexfordman finished in 1:08.92 just .91 outside of the bronze medal position won by Cuba’s Lorenzo Perez Escalona in 1:08.01.

Speaking after the race McDonald commented “I’m happy with the pb, it was a good race, the field was very strong, the lads that won deserved to win, they are very strong competitors and I have no regrets, I gave it my all.

“On one hand I’m disappointed I didn’t medal but on the other I’m half glad because it will spur me on and create a new level of determination for continuing on.”

James Scully also bettered his personal best set earlier this morning when he finished seventh in the 100m freestyle S5 final.  Scully’s time of 1:21.89 was almost three seconds faster than his best coming into the Games. He has now had a 5th, 7th, 9th and 13th place finish at his first Paralympic Games.

Speaking about the overall Games experience, Scully said “It’s been unreal, I’ve never experienced anything like this before, it’s been the best experience of my life, its great being able to swim well in this environment”.

The Irish tandem of James Brown and Damien Shaw were forced to withdraw from the men’s individual B road race when they suffered a puncture followed by a mechanical in the first 32km of the 104km race.

Before their withdrawal the duo were active at the front of the race, working with the Beijing Paralympic champions Poland, and reigning World Champions France.

Brown and Shaw have only been together since January, and have been moving from strength to strength, winning a bronze in the time trial earlier this week, and narrowly missing out on a medal in the pursuit at the velodrome.

After the race Shaw said: “We were going well, riding in a good position and feeling strong. When you are riding on tubular tyres they are fast, but they can puncture a bit easier, which is what happened. It took a long time to change, the support cars don’t follow the race which makes it difficult”.

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