Rio medal haul exceeded Ireland’s best hopes

Rio medal haul exceeded Irelands best hopes
14 September 2016; Ellen Keane of Ireland with her bronze medal following the Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB8 Final at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Team Ireland are celebrating after a hugely successful games in which they beat their targets for the Rio Paralympics, coming back with an incredible 11 medals.

The Irish team of 48 athletes across 10 sports helped to get inside the targeted top 30 spot on the medals table, by placing 28th after winning four gold, four silver and three bronze medals.

Rio medal haul exceeded Irelands best hopes
14 September 2016; Colin Lynch of Ireland with his silver medal after the Men’s Time Trial C2 at the Pontal Cycling Road during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

The team were further encouraged by a number of young Paralympics debutants who will surely be medal hopefuls for the following games. From Day Two onwards there were medal celebrations for the team, with the world’s fastest Paralympian Jason Smyth securing the first Irish medal of the Games, winning the gold in the T13 100m final to successfully defend his Paralympic title and complete a historic treble.

Rio medal haul exceeded Irelands best hopes
14 September 2016; Eoghan Clifford of Ireland celebrates with his gold medal during the medal ceremony of the Men’s C3 Time Trial at the Pontal Cycling Road during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Incredible performances from Michael McKillop (gold), Eoghan Clifford (bronze and gold), Colin Lynch ( silver), Ellen Keane (bronze), Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal (gold and silver), led the team the whole way through to one of the final days, where 16-year-old Noelle Lenihan (bronze) completed a rebel treble of discus medals along with her Cork team mates of Orla Barry (silver) and Niamh McCarthy (silver) to wrap things up in style for the Irish going into the final day.

Rio medal haul exceeded Irelands best hopes
15 September 2016; Niamh McCarthy of Ireland celebrates with her silver medal during the medal ceremony of the Women’s Discus Throw F41 Final at Olympic Stadium during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

But as well as all of the headline-grabbing medals, the team were most heartened by some phenomenal lifetime best performances and many top ten finishes.

Ireland’s youngest team member, 14-year-old Nicole Turner led the contingent out as flag bearer, a baton that was passed to her from the Opening Ceremony flag bearer and 11-time Paralympian John Twomey, the eldest member of the team. Ireland’s Chef de Mission Denis Toomey said: “Brilliant performances from all of Team Ireland ensured all our targets and expectations were surpassed.

“To be bringing home 11 medals from Rio 2016 and to finish up 28th on the medal table will hopefully bring as much elation to everyone at home in Ireland as it brings to me.”

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