It was an action packed first day for Ireland at the Paralympic Games. Laois star Nicole Turner smashed her personal best twice in the same day, as she finished eighth in the S6 50m freestyle final. Paralympic Ireland’s youngest squad member, Roisin Ni Riain got her Paralympics debut off to a sublime start as she also earned an eight place finish in the S13 100m Butterfly.
In the early hours of the morning, Nicole Turner finished fifth in her heat with a new personal best of 35:36 to qualify for the final. In the final, Turner swam a lifetime best of 35:29 to finish eighth overall. Ukraine's Yelyzaveta Mereshko won gold and set a new Paralympic record with a time of 33.11 seconds.
Coming into the event, Turner was ranked 11th out of 16 competitors so it is a great start to her Paralympics in what is not her strongest event.
“The 50m Freestyle is not a serious event for me, it just dusts off the cobwebs, so I couldn’t have asked for a better start,” Turner said.
“It was another PB and I’m probably being a bit hard on myself because I’d have liked to have gone a little bit faster than that, but the aim is always to PB and I’ve achieved that so I can’t ask for a better start.” The Portarlington star is clearly hoping to go even better in her main events over the coming days.
“I’m not as busy as I was in Rio so I have two days off now before the 100m Breaststroke on Saturday. I’m off on Sunday and then I have the 50m Butterfly on Monday and they are my main two targets.”
'To get to a Paralympics Games is amazing - to swim PBs in finals is the dream'
Nicole Turner reflects on a new PB as she finished 8th in her S6 50m freestyle final #Paralympics #Tokyo2020 #RTESport
Watch live: https://t.co/XnOP6grnB7 pic.twitter.com/z6XFEQeL4e
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 25, 2021
Limerick’s Roisin Ni Riain made a sensational Paralympic debut by knocking almost three seconds off her personal best, as she finished third in her S13 100m Butterfly heat in 1:08.18 to earn a place in her first final where she finished eighth in 1:09.26.
Ni Riain wasn’t fazed by being involved in a race that produced a new Paralympic record of 1:02.65 from Italy’s Carlotta Gilli. saying “I prefer to think of it just as a race - get in and swim as fast as you can.”
Ni Riain was also using her butterfly opener to tune up for her main events. “I’m delighted to get out and race in a Paralympic final,” the Limerick schoolgirl said. “The time was a bit slower than this morning but, that’s OK, hopefully I can work on that.
The Izu Velodrome also welcomed the first Irish Para Cyclists into action today. Paralympic debutant Richael Timothy competed in the C1-C3 3000m Individual Pursuit where she produced a blistering performance just narrowly missing out on a place in the final.
Timothy took the pace out hard from the beginning and kept a steady pace as she bore down on the aero bars before catching her opponent, Marzinke, on the third lap. Her finish of 4:11.69 was a huge 14 second personal best as she just missed out on a place in the final with an overall finish of 9th place in a race where the world record was broken twice.
“For me to get a PB is brilliant. It is my first event at a Paralympic Games. I only got on the team two years ago, it is just a case of getting the first event over with. Thanks so much for all the support back home. It has been amazing. All the support I’m getting from Galway and Roscommon has been amazing and I just hope I have done them proud and also made everyone at home proud. I just want to say thank you to everyone at home, everyone that is watching. Four years ago I didn’t think I would be here. I’m just delighted.”
'I came her to go faster than I ever have and I've gone faster than I ever have before - that's all I can do'
Richael Timothy reflects on shaving 14 seconds off her PB in the C1-C3 3000m individual pursuit.
Report: https://t.co/qLu0x7ma4V pic.twitter.com/QDN8W9j9n0
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 25, 2021