‘It has not sunk in’: Nicole Turner claims Paralympic silver medal

The 19-year-old produced a stylish finish to win first Paralympic medal of her career

Portarlington's Nicole Turner held off the USA's Elizabeth Marks to claim a Paralympic silver medal in Tokyo's Aquatic Centre on Monday.

The 19-year-old touched home in 36.30 seconds just behind world record holder Yuyan Jiang from China in the women's 50m S6 butterfly to earn Ireland's second medal in the pool after Ellen Keane.

Despite a perfect start from Turner, Jiang eased out front leaving a tight race for second place. But Turner, who had come in second in her heat as Jiang broke the world record, produced a stylish finish to tough out the final placings and win the first Paralympic medal of her career.

“To be honest it hasn’t sunk in at all,” said Turner. “I always thought it would be a fight for bronze. I think I was shaking before the race even started,” added Turner. “The past five years they have been pretty challenging.


“Within the past two years even because of the way paralympism works people can come up and down in classification and there are new people in there that are new to the S6 category.

“So, even coming in I aimed high to get a medal. But to be honest to reach the podium with the competitiveness in there, it has not sunk in.”

Turner has other races to swim. But the 50m is her strongest event and having missed out on a medal five years ago, putting her education on hold to focus on Tokyo has been richly rewarded.

“Coming into Tokyo and looking back on Rio being so close to that bronze medal . . . the aim after Rio was just to get on the podium in Tokyo. I never in a million years thought it would be silver,” said Turner.

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times