Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Day 7: Dunlevy and McCrystal win gold, Gary O’Reilly secures bronze medal

Resilient Orla Comerford misses out on final of the T13 100m after difficult few weeks

Eve McCrystal and Katie George Dunlevy competing in the women’s B time trial at the Fuji International Speedway. Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Eve McCrystal and Katie George Dunlevy competing in the women’s B time trial at the Fuji International Speedway. Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

 
  • Road cycling: The tandem duo of Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal take the gold medal in the B time trial. Gary O’Reilly wins a bronze in the H5 time trial. Richael Timothy finishes in 14th place in the C1-3 time trial. Ronan Grimes finishes the C4 time trial in sixth place.
  • Athletics: Orla Comerford battles through injury to compete in the heats of the T13 100m.

Road cycling

The Irish tandem duo of Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal dominated the B time trial to take the gold medal on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

They finished in 47:32.07, almost a minute clear of the British pair of Lora Fachie and Corrine Hall.

The defending Paralympic champions in the event already have a silver medal to their names in these Games, finishing second in the B 3000m individual pursuit on Saturday.

"I'm in a bit of shock, it is absolutely amazing," Dunlevy told RTE after their win. "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."

Gary O’Reilly earlier secured a bronze for Ireland in the men’s H5 time trial at the Fuji International Speedway.

The Portlaoise hand-cyclist set 39:36.46 to take third place in a hard fought event around the famous motor racing circuit in the rolling foothills below Mount Fuji. Dutch rider Mitch Valize took the gold medal with 38:12.94 while French rider Loic Vergnaud (39:15.16) took silver.

Immediately after the race O’Reilly said: “I’m completely shocked to be honest. I didn’t expect to get the medal. I’m just absolutely delighted.

Ireland’s Gary O’Reilly with his bronze medal. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Ireland’s Gary O’Reilly with his bronze medal. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

“I am so happy to have done it for everyone at home - I did it for them. All my family, my wife Hazel, are up watching it, I’m sure they’re as happy as I am.

“I think I was 20 seconds down on the podium on the first lap but I had Neill (Delahaye - coach) in my ear telling me to stick to the plan.

“I realised we just needed to stay with the plan, I came back up on time then with the second lap - started putting time into them. Thankfully it worked.

“There are really difficult conditions here, we had to push through our (heart and power) zones and then recover on the downhill.

“The climate might have caught people out, it is very humid and hot. It was all about a real pacing strategy race today - so that you don’t burn up too quickly.”

O’Reilly will line out in the road race on Wednesday morning where he will chase down his second medal of the Games:

“I just want to go in and try and recover as best I can. We’re up early in the morning, so I’ll try and stick with it and do my best and see what happens at the end of the race.”

Richael Timothy finished in 14th place overall in the C1-3 time trial with a time of 30:55.24.

Ireland’s Richael Timothy during her race at the Fuji International Speedway. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Ireland’s Richael Timothy during her race at the Fuji International Speedway. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

The Roscommon native found the circuit to be a gruelling opponent: “it was really hard to be honest. Just I found it so tough, not even the hilly parts but the technical parts. For me my right side is so much weaker, so when I’m going I kind of, not panicked, but I went to use my right hand the way I used to use it and it caused a bit of a slip.

“I had to slow down a bit in the bends, just be cautious going into them to keep upright. It is the hardest TT I have ever done. I pushed so hard today, and that’s what I wanted to do - just leave it all out there. I feel like I did that.

“That was the hardest race I’ve done - I looked down at one point and my heart rate was 200 - I went as hard as I could.”

Ronan Grimes finished the C4 time trial with a time of 47:40.06, finishing in sixth place. Last Friday the Galway man came tantalisingly close to securing a medal in the C4 individual pursuit.

Athletics

Orla Comerford was the sole member of Team Ireland to compete at the Olympic Stadium today, clocking a time of 12.87 in the third heat of the T13 100m.

That left her in fourth position in her heat which meant she did not progress to the finals this evening. However, speaking after the race she revealed the difficulties she's faced preparing for today’s event: 

“You know, the expectation for this Games have shifted a number of times this year with injury and we’ve had to adapt to those changes and unfortunately one of them came on the last day of training camp in Narita where I sustained a small tear in my quad so for me the last couple of weeks have been all about being in a position where I could go out and line up on the track.

Orla Comerford of Ireland competing in the women’s T13 100m heats at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Orla Comerford of Ireland competing in the women’s T13 100m heats at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

“I knew there was no way that I could be realistically competitive and pushing for the times I would have expected from myself a month ago so, unfortunately, that was the reality today so the goal after that happened was to line up, to be there, to race, to cross the finish line and to be honest I wasn’t even sure that would happen.

“Lining up was incredibly important for me with losing my coach, Brian Corcoran, two weeks ago. I saw him the day I left and I know that he was incredibly proud of me being here and being on the plane so for me it was about lining up and being there and I think he was with me every step of the way. To his family who have been so incredibly strong and so incredibly kind, I’m sure this has been an incredibly difficult time for them, it’s been a very difficult time for all of us.

“It was really hard being here by myself, I was lonely not being at home with the Raheny Shamrocks gang and his family and everything like that but I know that, at the end of the day, this is where he wanted me to be, he told me as much and so my goal was to be out there. And, while I knew I couldn’t make him proud with the times and the performance, I hoped that he would be proud of my resilience and my drive to be out there on the starting line.”

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