Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Day 4: Dunlevy and McCrystal claim silver for Ireland

In other finals, Greta Streimikyte finishes fifth on the track and Nicole Turner seventh in the pool

Ireland’s Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal celebrate taking silver at the Tokyo Paralympics. Photograph: Casey B Gibson/Inpho

Ireland’s Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal celebrate taking silver at the Tokyo Paralympics. Photograph: Casey B Gibson/Inpho

 
  • Cycling (track): Dunlevy and McCrystal take silver medal after earlier setting world record; Martin Gordon and Eamon Byrne set new PB as they finish fifth in final.
  • Athletics: Greta Streimikyte finishes fifth in the final of the T12 1,500m.
  • Swimming: Nicole Turner finishes seventh in the final of the SB6 100m breaststroke after breaking PB in the heats.
  • Para-Equestrian: Michael Murphy and Kate Kerr Horan improve on individual events to put Ireland in eighth position.
  • Sunday schedule: Jason Smyth looks to make it four Paralympics T13 100m titles in a row on the track.

Cycling (track)

Ireland’s Para Cycling athletes Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal have won silver on day four of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

The tandem pair took second in the B 3000m Individual Pursuit with a time of 3:21.505, having come close but not close enough to British duo Lora Fachie and Corinne Hall who took gold.

The Irish pair showed incredible speed in their qualifying round to set a new world record of 3:19:946, which was then broken by the British pair in their run.

It was the British pair that made the better start and though Dunlevy and McCrystal managed to reel in their rivals in the middle thousand meters the winners ultimately re-established their lead before crossing the line to win gold.

McCrystal said: “I think we did ourselves proud, we left nothing to chance, no stone was left unturned by our coach Neill [Delahaye] and Cycling Ireland. He made sure that we would get here in best possible form. To get that performance, I just can’t believe it. I’m so proud of Katie and I know she is proud of me – I am just so happy that we did this.”

Dunlevy said: “I’m in a bit of shock, it is absolutely amazing. If someone said to me before that I would get a medal in the pursuit I would never have thought it in my wildest dreams. We were hoping to do a good ride and get a PB. To get that and a world record, I’m just speechless.”

Ireland’s Katie-George Dunlevy and her pilot Eve McCrystal compete in the women’s B 3000m individual pursuit final during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at the Izu velodrome. Photograph: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland’s Katie-George Dunlevy and her pilot Eve McCrystal compete in the women’s B 3000m individual pursuit final during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at the Izu velodrome. Photograph: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to the athletes, saying:

“My warmest congratulations to Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal who today won silver in the B 3000m Individual Pursuit, adding to their remarkable record when representing Team Ireland.”

Minister for Sport Catherine Martin also congratulated the pair, saying it was a “fantastic achievement” and had made “Ireland proud”.

Meanwhile Martin Gordon and Eamon Byrne came fifth overall in the B1000m time-trial at the Izu Velodrome.

They also maintained the Para Cycling team’s record of having every rider deliver a personal best performance to date, finishing on 1:01.545.

Britain’s Neil Fachie and Matthew Rotherham took the gold medal with a new world record time of 58.038, completing a husband and wife double after Lora’s win in the women’s final.

Gordon was delighted with the performance. “That’s a huge PB time. We didn’t just break our PB we absolutely destroyed it. To come over from the World’s last year to get 1:03.6 and do what we did today, 1:01.545 is just fantastic.”

Pilot Byrne added: “I couldn’t tell you about the race, never remember the kilo. Go out hard and try and be smooth in the middle and just die – and that’s what we did. It hurt a lot. Don’t look at split, tell you that was a power PB.”

Greta Streimikyte finished out of the medals in the T13 1,500m after battling her way into podium position before coming home in fifth after a number of strong finishes from her fellow finalists.

Athletics

The 26-year-old European champion led after the first 300m but Ethiopia’s Tigist Menigstu and Morocco’s Fatima El Idrissi took over proceedings and put distance on the rest of the field.

Streimikyte had her own battle with Tunisia’s Somaya Bousaid for third position and that contest continued through to the bell before Liza Corso of the United States joined the medal battle.

El Idrissi’s challenge for gold disappeared as the group closed on her, the Moroccan collapsing on the home straight and later having to leave the track in a wheelchair after receiving medical attention.

Menigstu powered home to gold in a time of 4:23.24, with Corso getting ahead of Bousaid to take silver. Veronika Zotova overtook Streimikyte in the last strides to take fourth, with the Bettystown athlete taking fifth in a time of 4:32.82.

Streimikyte was at a loss for her performance and failure to find another gear in the closing stages of the race.

“No, it definitely wasn’t [the performance she wanted], I don’t know what happened, I could not go , I honestly don’t know.

“I thought on the second lap I got myself in a very comfortable position and I was ready to go but it wasn’t enough this time, it wasn’t enough.

“I thought I might catch her [Bousaid] but the two girls came up from nowhere but today just wasn’t there, I ran better this season.

“No I don’t want to blame it on the conditions, they’ve been there a for a while now, I just didn’t perform and it’s very disappointing because I did not expect this would be what it was.”

Swimming

In the pool on Saturday, Ireland’s Nicole Turner finished seventh in the final of the SB6 100m breaststroke final in a time of 1:41.63 after setting a personal best of 1:40.82 in the heats.

Para Dressage

Michael Murphy and his mount, Clever Boy, made up for their disappointment in the individual test on day two with an exceptional performance in the team event. Their final score of 75.179 would have been good enough for fourth place in the individual test.

Next up was Kate Kerr Horan on Serafina T and, like Murphy, she saw a dramatic improvement in her performance as she recorded a score of 65.765 to leave the team with a total of 140.944 and lying in eighth position overnight with Tamsin Addison set to complete the performance on Sunday.

Sunday action

Tomorrow will see another packed day of action as Paralympic champion Jason Smyth defends his T13 100m title while Jordan Lee will make his Paralympic debut in the T47 high jump.

Britney Arendse and Kerrie Leonard will compete in the power lifting and archery competitions respectively, while 16-year-old Róisín Ní Ríain is back in action in the pool in the heats of the 50m freestyle.

Sunday Irish schedule (all times Irish)

2:09am – Women’s S13 50m freestyle heat 2: Róisín Ní Ríain. Final at 10.17am

2.25am – Women’s ArcheryIndividual Compound Open Last 16: Kerrie Leonard vs J Jyoti (Ind)

4.35am – Men’s T13 100m, round 1, heat 2: Jason Smyth. Final at 11.53am

5.0am – Women’s -73kg powerlifting: Britney Arendse

11.28am – Men’s High Jump T45 Final: Jordan Lee

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