Niamh McCarthy signs off with another gold
McCarthy secures Ireland’s sixth gold medal in Berlin
Niamh McCarthy of Ireland competing in the F41 Discu in Berlin . Photograph: Luc Percival/Sportsfile
Ten athletes, nine medals, six of them gold - by any standards a remarkable measure of success for the Irish team at the European Para-Athletics Championships in Berlin.
Niamh McCarthy wrapped the last day of competition by winning that sixth gold medal in the women’s F41 discus, twice improving the European Championship record in the process with a best of 31.76 metres.
Two years out from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, it all augers extremely well: McCarthy defended the title won two years ago, adding to the double sprint gold of Jason Smyth, Noelle Lenihan and Orla Barry also defending their discus titles, with Greta Streimikyte also wining winning gold in the T13 1,500m.
McCarthy put all her experience to use over her six throws, leading from her first effort until her last. Her shortest throw was 28.88 metres, still over seven metres clear of Renata Sliwinska from Poland who claimed the silver medal, while McCarthy threw 31.05m, a new championship record, on her fifth attempt, which she broke with her final effort of 31:76 metres.
On Friday, Orla Comerford won another bronze medal in the women’s T13 100 metres, adding to her bronze won over 200m earlier in the week. Also winning bronze was 18 year-old Jordan Lee from Killarney, making his championship debut, who finished third the T47 high jump, with a best height of 1.75 metres.
Berlin also extended the quite remarkable winning streak for Smyth, now 13 years undefeated on the international stage, pocketing gold medal number 19 during the week, with another record to boot.
These medal winning performances came off the back of those of the swimming team who sealed three medals at the World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships that were hosted in Dublin last week. Ellen Keane secured gold in the 100m breaststroke and the bronze in the 200m individual medley, with 16 year-old Nicole Turner delivering a silver medal in the women’s 50 metres butterfly.