McKillop turns in another golden performance in Doha

Ireland's Michael McKillop celebrates his gold medal in Doha on Friday
Picture: Sportsfile 
Malcolm McCausland

MICHAEL McKILLOP turned in another masterful performance to take his second gold medal of the week at the 2015 IPC Paralympic Athletics World Championships in Doha on Friday.

In humid conditions with temperatures well into the 30s, McKillop picked up the pace just before the bell to push clear of his main challenger, Brad Scott of Australia. McKillop turned on the style on the last lap to come home five seconds clear of Scott in 4:16.21. Algeria’s Majid Djemai took bronze another eight seconds back.

It was McKillop’s seventh world championship gold medal and his second of the week after his 800m win last Saturday. This brings to 12 the number of major championship medals the 25-year-old Glengormley man has won since 2006.

“It’s been a really long hard year, so to leave the Middle East with two gold medals is just amazing,” said McKillop after his latest success.

“It was a tough race but, when you have the determination to conquer, you can do anything.”

McKillop drew praise from Irish team manager James Nolan: “I had full confidence in Michael over 1,500m.

"Although he has had a year plagued with injury and hasn’t been able to do as much training as he would have liked, he is a thoroughbred and the perfect build for the 1,500m upwards. There was no way anyone in that field was going to trouble Michael.”

McKillop’s medal was the seventh picked up by Irish athletes at these championships. It also hoisted Ireland to a respectable 18th in the medal table. China lead the way with 78 medals, followed by Russia (60), the United States (36) and Britain (27).

Sprinter Jason Smyth claimed the other gold in the T13 100m last Saturday, before hightailing it out of town to be with his wife, who is still awaiting the arrival of their first child.

Fifteen-year-old Noelle Lenihan from Charleville in county Cork won discus silver in the joint F37/F38, setting a world record of 31.64m in the latter category. Órla Barry continued the unprecedented Irish success by claiming a bronze medal in the F57 Discus final.

Deirdre Mongan saw herself upgraded to bronze following successful appeals against the result in the F53 Shot Putt final. Several nations, including Ireland, protested that the original top two finishers, Stetsyuk of Ukraine and Nedham of Bahrain, had used an illegal throwing action.

Earlier, Niamh McCarthy won Ireland’s first medal of the championships last Friday when she made a memorable debut at this level, taking third in the F41 discus final. McCarthy, from Carrigaline in Cork, recorded a best distance of 23.66m with her final throw.

It is the first time Ireland has taken four throwing medals at a major IPC championships and reflects the technical input from national coach David Sweeney from Derry.

Wheelchair racer John McCarthy was on the track shortly after Michael McKillop on Friday, competing in the semi-finals of the T51 400m. The Cork native finished second in a time of 1:36.03 to advance to the final on the concluding day of competition.


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