No stopping super Irish as medal tally grows
DRIP, DRIP, drip. Clink, clink, clink. More, more, more. The only problem with daily topping up of the Irish medal tally at the Paralympic Games is that the folks back home might be getting the wrong impression.
You might be assuming this is easy, that it was supposed to happen this way. It isn’t and it wasn’t and if you had any doubts about that, a morning watching Mark Rohan yesterday would have wiped them away.
The 31 year old from Ballinahown, Co Westmeath, took his second gold of the week at Brands Hatch, winning the handcycling road race around 48km of hilly Kent racetrack.
He won by two seconds over Swiss rider Tobias Fankhauser at the end of an hour and 53 minutes of racing on another monstrously hot day, where the track temperature got up to 30 degrees.
It makes him a double Paralympic champion, on top of the double world champion he became in Denmark last year.
“When you see the flag go up, I don’t know, you just think how proud you are to be Irish,” he said afterwards. “To see that flag on top of the rest of them, you know, is a real special moment, it doesn’t happen that often.
“It could be a long time before it happens again – hopefully not – but I’m just trying to take it in. The last 10 years have been a struggle and it was nice to top it off, to be able to celebrate something now.”
He was far from the only one. Derry sprinter Jason Smyth confirmed his status as the fastest Paralympian on the planet in the Olympic Stadium last night with gold in the T13 200m, fizzing down the home straight almost a second clear of the field. It earned him his second gold of the week and his fourth in all.
Smyth’s gold brought the Irish medal tally to 16, after Catherine O’Neill from New Ross, Co Wexford, won silver in the F51/52/53 discus competition.
With eight gold, three silver and five bronze, Ireland go into the last day of competition in 15th place on the medals table.