Niamh McCarthy finishes fifth in the discus final at the Paralympics

Carrigaline native came close to a bronze medal in Tokyo
Niamh McCarthy finishes fifth in the discus final at the Paralympics

Ireland’s Niamh McCarthy in action in Toyko. Picture: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

CARRIGALINE'S Niamh McCarthy narrowly missed out on a bronze medal at the Paralympics.

Despite saving her best throw until last, Cork discus thrower McCarthy finished fifth in the F41 final. 

The Rio silver medallist and three-time world medallist produced her best throw of 28:94 metres in the sixth round. 

Her first-round 28:59m had her lying third after the second round but the standard of competition was sensational and saw the world record change hands three times. Defending champion Roaua Tlili took gold with her final throw of 37.91m to overtake Morocco’s Youssra Karim (37:35m) whose teammate Hayat El Garaa took bronze with 29:30.

McCarthy said: “I’m happy with my performance. I know other people were expecting better things but it’s been a very hard few years so just to make it here and to have a few good throws I’m happy with that.

“My PB is over 30m and I’m a way’s off my season-best. If you just look at the result you’d be thinking if I did slightly nearer to it I could have got a medal but I don’t think I could have done more today, I did as best as I could.

"Had the Games gone ahead last year I wouldn’t have been in them. I’ve been trying for years to get back to where I used to be so it’s been a difficult time. 

"I’ve changed as a person. That’s not to say that those strengths aren’t in there but they’re not with me right now in the quantity that I’d like so I’m happy to just have made it to this competition. 

"It was touch-and-go so I’m really proud of myself.”

Meanwhile, Gary O’Reilly brought a memorable first Paralympic Games to a close with another excellent performance that saw him finish in fourth place having been in contention throughout the event. 

O'Reilly stayed with the group until near to the end of the race but a breakaway group of 3 riders made a break that the rest of the riders couldn’t answer. 

In the end, Gary himself made a break to ensure that he finished in 4th position in the H5 Road Race with a time of 2:24.57. It proved to be a spectacular finish to the race as Dutch rider, Valize and Frenchman Verngnaud sprinted against each other for the win with Valize pipping his rival at the finish line. 

“I’m chuffed about the Games as a whole. I think fourth today was the best result I could have hoped for to be honest. With the medal yesterday, I’m still struggling to believe that happened, so I think all in all it’s job done. I couldn’t be happier.”

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