Gold-winning Cork athlete announces her retirement after 13 years of success

Gold-winning Cork athlete announces her retirement after 13 years of success
Ireland's Orla Barry on the podium with her bronze medal at the Olympic Stadium, London. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

DOUBLE Paralympic medallist Orla Barry has announced her retirement from Paralympic sport. 

The Leesider, who represented Ireland at three Paralympic Games in the F57 Discus, is a former World Record holder in the event and finishes up having won nine medals at major events throughout her 13-year career.

The native of Ladysbridge in East Cork competed in athletics since she was 14 and first represented Ireland at the Paralympic Games in 2008, at the Beijing games. Her fifth place finish was a sign of things to come and she clinched her first medal in London four years later when she won the bronze medal. 

Evening Echo sports editor John McHale with Orla Barry after her 2012 success. Picture: David Keane.
Evening Echo sports editor John McHale with Orla Barry after her 2012 success. Picture: David Keane.

In 2013, Barry broke the world record for her event and two years later she won the silver medal at the World Para Athletics Championships, a result that she repeated two years later in Doha. 

2016 marked her best season as an athlete when she claimed the gold medal at the European Championships before a silver medal in Rio. 

Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

She retires as the European Champion in the F57 Discus having won the gold medal in Berlin in 2018.

“I have had a wonderful career in Paralympic Sport. I achieved everything that I set out to achieve when I first started competing as a 14-year-old girl. 

"I have some amazing memories that I will cherish forever and I have worked with brilliant coaches, competed alongside some incredible athletes and made some lifelong friends. 

“I am entering into a new period in my life as I am building a new house, planning my wedding next year and embarking on a new career. I feel that now is the right time to step away from the sport while I am still at the top and knowing that I would struggle to give the commitment and single minded focus to reach the standards that I have always set for myself and that the sport deserves. 

“I would like to thank my coach of 17 years, Pat Furlong, my fellow Irish Paralympic team mates, the staff and support staff at Paralympics Ireland and Sport Ireland for supporting me throughout my career. I would especially like to thank my family who have been a huge part of my journey and without whom I would not have enjoyed the great success that I achieved.” 

Orla after collecting a gold medal at the World Para-Athletics European Championships in Berlin.
Orla after collecting a gold medal at the World Para-Athletics European Championships in Berlin.

Paralympics Ireland president John Fulham feels Barry has been a great athlete and a wonderful ambassador for her sport and for her country. 

"She has embodied what it is to be a high performance Para Athlete throughout her brilliant career and I would like to thank her for the dedication that she has shown to her sport.” 

Sport Ireland director of high performance Paul McDermott said the group was proud to have been associated with her. 

"Orla, her family and coaches can reflect on a remarkably successful career with the ultimate accolade of medals at the Paralympic Games. Sport Ireland will now work closely with Orla and Paralympics Ireland to ensure she enjoys a smooth transition away from the High Performance programme.”

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