Paralympics Day One: Four PBs for Team Ireland, Turner and Ní Riain make finals

Paralympics Day One: Four Pbs For Team Ireland, Turner And Ní Riain Make Finals
Colin Judge lost out to China's Zhao Ping in the qualifying round of the Men's C3 Singles Table Tennis event. Photo: INPHO/Tommy Dickson
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It's been a busy morning in Tokyo for Team Ireland on the first day of action at the 2020 Paralympic Games.

Five Irish athletes competed in the early hours of the morning Irish time, but the day's Irish interest is not over yet, thanks to the qualification of two swimmers for finals which will take place shortly.



Nicole Turner and Róisín Ní Riain both qualified out of their heats to earn a spot in today's finals.

First up, however, was Barry McClements in the S9 400M Freestyle. The Co Down man set a personal best, clocking a 4:27.11, which unfortunately wasn't enough to see him through, missing out by an agonising 0.98 seconds.

Speaking after the race, McClements said being the first Irish athlete to compete, he was happy to set the tone for the team by posting a personal best.

Turner was next up in the pool, swimming in the S6 50M Freestyle event, hitting the wall in an impressive 35.47 - another personal best in the pool for the team. Later, the Laois swimmer took eighth in the final, posting a second personal best of the day.

Last up in today's heats was 16-year-old Ní Riain. Competing in her first Paralympics, the Limerick teen took a 3-second personal best in the S13 100M Butterfly, earning her a spot in the final. Ní Riain subsequently finished eighth in the final, but said it was great to qualify, adding the experience will prepare her well for her remaining races later this week.


Table Tennis

Over in the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Colin Judge was in action in the qualification round of the Men's C3 Singles Table Tennis event.

The Dubliner met world number six Zhao Ping from China in the opening game, getting off to a difficult start, losing the first set 11-6. Judge pulled himself back into contention, as the second set ended 9-9 before he took the third set 12-10, however the Chinese athlete proved too strong in the end, rounding out the game with an 11-6 fourth set.

Track Cycling

The Irish personal bests were not just reserved for the pool this morning, with Richael Timothy's 4:11.69 in the Women's C1-3 3000M Individual Pursuit Qualifiers putting her top of the ranking in the early stages.

The Roscommon woman slipped down the rankings from there, however, finishing ninth, narrowly missing out on the eighth position that would have seen her qualify for the finals.

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