Greta Streimikyte runs 1500m personal best to finish fourth
Orla Comerford qualifies for final of T13 women’s 100m in Rio de Janeiro
Greta Streimikyte of Ireland after finishing the Women’s 1500m T13 Final at the Olympic Stadium during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Ireland’s Greta Streimikyte knocked almost four seconds off her personal best but had to be satisfied with fifth place, initially, in the T13 Women’s 1500 metres final at the Olympic stadium in Rio. She was subsequently bumped up to fourth when Mexico’s Daniela Maldonado was disqualified.
The 21-year-old Lithuanian born athlete, who gained Irish citizenship in December of last year five years, produced a brilliant time of 4.45.06, and be proud of her run.
She faced extremely difficult competition illustrated by the winning time of 36-year-old Tunisian Samaya Bousaid who claimed the gold medal in 4.21.45, nine seconds clear of compatriot Najah Chouaya with Spaniard Izaskun Oses Ayucar, with whom Sterimikyte had battled with for 1300 metres of the race taking the bronze medal.
Two of the athletes in the race ran with male guides, though none of the medallists. The two Tunisians are essentially 400 metre runners and they disputed the first two places, from the outset opening up a huge lead, with a secondary and more interesting tussle for the bronze medal.
Streimikyte, who collapsed to the track in the aftermath of a punishing effort, said: “I’m still a little bit in shock because it was a fast race. I suppose I need time to process what happened and how it all went and all kind of stuff but I can’t complain, I still improved and got my PB and that is great.
“The fast start kind of ruined my tactics, not ruined them, but I was thinking after the first run on Thursday that you’re kind of dragging girls but it happened different and the girls dragged me.
“I was thinking, ‘oh Greta you have to push,’ because my idea was to push the girls but they went really fast and I had to actually keep up with them and you know race that way. It was a change of plan but it was a championship race, you just never know. You can have these plans but you just never know.
“It’s great; it’s great. I’m happy and you can’t complain. Go home and work harder and yeah maybe I didn’t get the medal this time but that is the good lesson. It’s never too much, you have too work, work, work and work a bit harder.”
Meanwhile Orla Comerford ran a season’s best 12.81 to win a place in the T13 Women’s 100 metres final on Sunday. The Howth girl, who turns 19 in four days time, finished fourth in her heat but qualified as one of the fastest losers.
It’s been a busy year for the teenager as she recently completed her Leaving Certificate, winning a place in the National College of Art and Design in Dun Laoghaire.
She smiled: “Delighted to make the final that’s what I came here with a goal of doing. I thought I went a bit quicker but hopefully I can do that tomorrow. We will see what happens.
“I had a good start and was feeling good but dropped the hips a little (in the second 50 metres). Hopefully I can correct that for tomorrow.”
So was she nervous running in the Olympic stadium before 30,000 spectators? “No I actually wasn’t (beforehand) to be honest. I tend to run more relaxed if I don’t get hyped up about races. I was quite calm.
“I was up at 7.0am, bus at quarter past eight, here at the track early in case there was any heavy traffic. We were here in plenty of time, to do my warm-up. It was all new but it didn’t faze me too much.
“I thought I would have been more nervous and taken aback by it (the occasion) but I was quite relaxed. It was a great experience to see it in real life rather than just on television. I don’t really see too much that’s going on so you can kind of really phase it out.
She paid tribute to her coach Brian Corcoran. “I have been talking to him a good bit and we have been well prepared. There is not a chance I would have made it here without Donal Fox (her strength and conditioning coach) and Brian. It has been a busy year and I can’t thank them enough for getting me prepared.”
It was then off to catch with her father, mother and two brothers who have flown to Brazil for the two days of her competition. “I could hear them screaming like lunatics in the crowd. Fingers crossed I go a bit faster but look I’ll give it my all.”
Ireland’s Nicole Turner finished seventh in the 50 metres freestyle final. The 14-year-old qualified second in her heat but there were six faster swimmers time-wise going into the final and that proved an accurate barometer in terms of the overall result.
In the ensuing race Brazilian folk hero Daniel Dias was beaten into third place in the men’s 50 metres butterfly, a final won by American Roy Perkins. It takes Dias’s tally of medals to 11 gold, four silver and two bronze.
Galway based Rena McCarron Rooney was beaten by world number one, Korea’s Seo Su-Yeon, 11-5, 11-8, 11-3 in the women’s table tennis singles quarter-finals.
The Donegal woman admitted: “She’s the one lady I didn’t want to meet. But having said that, I put in an okay performance. I suppose I found it hard to believe I could beat her; she’s just so physically strong. I’m disappointed I didn’t win but I played as well as I could.”
Kildare’s Seán Baldwin finished in 33rd place with a personal best score of 624.1 in the 10m Rifle Mixed Prone qualifier.