McKillop on the Double at Para Athletics World Championships
Michael McKillop wins ninth world championship gold
Paul Keogan wins heat to qualify for T37 400m final
Ireland’s Michael McKillop stormed to victory in the T37 1500m to claim a remarkable ninth World Championship gold medal in front of a huge crowd at the Para Athletics World Championships in London tonight.
Capping another good day for the Irish, the Antrim athlete produced a sensational run in wet conditions to cross the line in a time of 4:36.38 to claim his second gold medal of the championships after his win in the 800m last weekend.
Taking the bell in the lead, McKillop and Canadian Liam Stanley pulled away from the chasing pack – Stanley making McKillop work hard going into the final 300m. But McKillop found an extra gear on the home straight and crossed the line over a second ahead of Stanley (4:37.96), with Algeria’s Madjid Djemai (4:41.93) taking the bronze.
Speaking after the race the four-time Paralympic champion said: “I’m feeling fantastic, I think after five years of creating myself in para athletic sport and in this stadium at London 2012, it feels incredible. I have to enjoy these little moments."
He continued: “It’s a team effort. It’s funny because my dad still has his stop watches at about 150m to go. Obviously I can’t hear him but he is probably still shouting things, telling me to move instead of going so slow. But do you know what; I don’t really care.”
Ireland Team Manager James Nolan added: “To say I was nervous watching Michael's race would be an understatement. In extremely slow races like that the risk is always that someone will clip your heal & down you go. Thankfully this did not happen and Micheal had the gears to secure the win.”
Earlier, Ireland’s Paul Keogan cruised through to tomorrow’s T37 400m final by winning his heat with a time of 57.07.
It was great run from the Cushionstown AC athlete who came into his own going into the final straight to finish ahead of Paralympic champion Charl du Toit.
Speaking after the heat, Keogan was looking forward to tomorrow’s decider: “I'm delighted with that, I felt very much in control throughout. It's a great confidence boost and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the final tomorrow.”
Ireland Team Manager, James Nolan, added: “That was a very strong finish by Paul. He took off hard and seemed to be very relaxed between 150 & 300m but stormed down the home straight easily claiming the victory over multiple medallist Charl du Toit from South Africa.”
Ireland’s Deirdre Mongan was in action in the evening session in the F53 shot final where her best throw of 4.09m was unfortunately not enough to challenge for a medal and she finished seventh in an extremely competitive field. Bahrain’s Fatema Nedham took gold with a throw of 4.73m.
Ireland's throws coach, Dave Sweeney, said: ”Deirdre will be very disappointed with her placing as her form leading in to these championships went without a hitch. She put in a huge effort over the last year and improved her personal best a lot but it just wasn't her night tonight."
McKillop's gold is Ireland’s seventh medal of the championships. The other medals won by: McKillop (gold in T37 800m); Jason Smyth (gold in T13 100m & 200m); Orla Barry (silver in F57 discus); Niamh McCarthy (silver in F41 discus); and, (silver in F38 discus).
Tomorrow is the final day of the Para Athletics World Championship with Paul Keogan’s T37 400m final Ireland’s only remaining event; that gets underway at 19.00.
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The Irish team is proudly supported by Flogas and Allianz; official partners of Paralympics Ireland.