By Will Downing, Berlin
Ireland have scorched to three gold medals via Greta Streimikyte, Jason Smyth and Orla Barry on their first day of competition at the World Para Athletics European Championships in Berlin.
Streimikyte got the ball rolling with an emphatic victory in the women’s 1500m for T13 visually impaired athletes at the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn Sportpark.
The DCU student, who had won bronze at the previous Europeans two years ago in Grosseto, hit the front early on and stayed out ahead of the rest of the field.
European record-holder Streimikyte won by a margin of almost 11 seconds in 4:48.54, with Spain’s Izaskun Oses Ayucar of Spain second and Turkey’s Asli Adali third.
Born in Vilnius, Streimikyte’s father moved to Ireland for work in 2006, with the rest of the family following four years later, when she was fourteen years old.
In the same category, Jason Smyth lived up to his perennial billing as the world’s fastest Paralympian by claiming the fifth European gold medal of his career.
The Derry sprinter was never in any doubt in the men’s 200m final, winning in 21.44 seconds to break his own 13-year-old Championship record.
Mateusz Michalski had put up a strong challenge for most of the race, but fell behind in second, finishing in 21.87 seconds, with Romanian Octavian Tucaliuc third.
And Cork’s Orla Barry retained her T57 discus crown with six throws that all would have won gold.
Her best effort of 28.76 metres was over eight metres clear of silver-medal-winning Martina Willing.
Dubliner Paul Keogan came fourth in the men’s T37 200m final for co-ordination impairment athletes, as he was edged out for bronze by Frenchman Renaud Clerc.
Only 0.16 divided third from fourth.
Poland’s Michal Kotkowski took gold.