Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Day 1: Nicole Turner sets a PB in final as Róisín Ní Riain finishes eighth

Richael Timothy misses out on track final; Colin Judge beaten in opener by Zhao Ping

  • Swimming: Barry McClements, Nicole Turner and Róisín Ní Riain swim personal bests; Turner sets another PB in final but misses out on medal, Ní Riain upbeat after eighth-placed finish in final.
  • Table tennis: Colin Judge beaten by Zhao Ping on Paralympics bow.
  • Track cycling: Richael Timothy narrowly misses out on individual pursuit final despite a PB.


Barry McClements had the honour of being the first Irish athlete to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and he ensured Team Ireland started with a bang in Japan.

McClements swam a personal best time of 4.27.11 to finish fifth in his 400m freestyle (S9) heat - he is now a first reserve for the event final which gets underway at 9am.

After his opening effort, McClements said: “I knew from last night that I was going to be the first Irish Paralympian up, so I’m really happy I set the tone of the competition for us with a personal best.”

Meanwhile two Irish athletes will be swimming for medals this morning, with Nicole Turner and Róisín Ní Riain also achieving personal bests in the pool overnight.

Turner swam a time of 35.47 in her 50m freestyle (S6) heat to finish fifth, and she set another personal best in her final.

The 19-year-old followed up her earlier effort with a time of 35.29, as she came last out of eight in her final. Ukraine secured two medals - gold for Yelyzaveta Mereshko and bronze for Anna Hontar - while the USA's Elizabeth Marks took silver.

Afterwards, Turner said: "The 50m Freestyle is not a serious event for me, it just dusts off the cobwebs, so I couldn’t have asked for a better start.

"It was another PB and I'm probably being  a bit hard on myself because I'd have liked to have gone a little bit faster than that, but the aim is always to PB and I've achieved that so  I can't ask for a better start.

"I'm not as busy as I was in Rio so I have two days off now before the 100m Breaststroke on Saturday. I'm off on Sunday and then I have the 50m Butterfly on Monday and they are my main two targets."

16-year-old Ní Riain clocked a time of 1.08.18 to finish third in her heat of the 100m butterfly (S13) to qualify for her final.

Ní Riain finished eighth of eight in the final after swimming a time of 1.09.26. Carlotta Gilli took gold and Alessia Berra silve in an Italian one-two while Russia's Daria Pikalova won bronze.

Afterwards, Ní Riain said: "My main events are still to come so getting out there and being able to race in a finaltoday felt really great, and also prepares me really well for the rest of the week."

Table tennis

It was a disappointing start to the Paralympics for Colin Judge, who was beaten 3-1 by China’s Zhao Ping in his opening Group G (Class 3) match.

26-year-old Judge went down 11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 11-6 against a tough opponent at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym.

"I felt there was very little in it all the way, either of us could have won but there are a lot of good things to take from it," Judge said afterwards.

"It’s quite encouraging, it’s probably the most forehands I’ve ever played, I’ve been working on my forehands a lot so I’m happy I got that in so much and I didn’t hold back. Just slight adjustments for tomorrow and I think I’ll be good."

On becoming a Paralympian, he said: “I’m over the moon, It’s been a dream come true and it’s really incredible to be out there, I’m going to cherish another opportunity tomorrow and we’re going to be ready”

Judge is back in action on Thursday in the SM3 singles qualification.

Track cycling

There was another personal best to enjoy in Tokyo overnight - this time it was Richael Timothy in the Women’s 3000m (C1-3) Individual Pursuit qualifiers.

Timothy clocked a time of 4.11.69 on the track - this had her top of the rankings in the early stages but she slipped down the leaderboard to finish ninth - narrowly missing out on the top eight place needed to reach the final.

On her PB, Timothy said: "For me to get a PB is brilliant. It is my first event at a Paralympic Games. I only got on the team two years ago, it is just a case of getting the first event over with. Thanks so much for all the support back home. It has been amazing.

"All the support I’m getting from Galway and Roscommon has been amazing and I just hope I have done them proud and also made everyone at home proud. I just want to say thank you to everyone at home, everyone that is watching. Four years ago I didn’t think I would be here. I’m just delighted.”

The Roscommon native will go again on Friday in the 500m (C1-3) Time Trial.