World Para Athletics Championships: Waiting game pays off for Niamh McCarthy in Dubai

World Para Athletics Championships: Waiting game pays off for Niamh McCarthy in Dubai
FLYING THE FLAG: Team Ireland’s Niamh McCarthy, from Carrigaline, Cork, celebrates after finishing third, to win a bronze medal, in the F41 discus final at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai yesterday. Picture: Ben Booth/Sportsfile

Niamh McCarthy secured Ireland’s first medal at this year’s World Para Athletics Championships yesterday, winning bronze in the discus.

Cork star McCarthy had a tense wait to find out whether her throw of 29.70 metres would be enough to secure the medal but she was not to be denied.

McCarthy got her event off to a rocky start when her first three throws, the second of which was ruled out of bounds, fell well short of her own high standards.

However, when the lower ranked athletes were removed from the event, the Carrigaline athlete did find her best form and on her fourth throw, producing the medal-winning 29.7m effort.

It was a tense wait to confirm her place on the podium as she had to wait for Morocco’s Hayat El Garaa to throw her final discus to confirm she had won a medal — by just 69 centimetres.

A relieved McCarthy said:

“That was probably one of the hardest competitions I’ve ever done, being part of it, it’s not something I ever want to do again but it went my way in the end so I can only be happy that I’m coming away with a medal, I don’t really care how it happened.”

It took a world record, a championship record and a North American record to deny Noelle Lenihan a place on the podium in a fiercely contested event in the F38 Women’s Discus final.

Noelle’s best throw came with her third effort which was a 31:68m but that was not enough for the North Cork AC athlete to reach the podium.

Chinese athlete Mi Na threw a championship record of 37:50m to take the gold. The remarkable 14-year-old South African, Simone Kruger, took silver after throwing a T38 world record in Noelle’s T38 class and Renee Foessel from Canada took the bronze with a throw of 33:37m which was a North American record.

“I went in as I always do, to compete, but it didn’t go as I would have liked, the sport is growing so much, the competition is getting a lot bigger so you really have to keep up with it,” said Charleville’s Lenihan.

Meanwhile sprint star Jason Smyth will be back in action today when he puts his incredible unbeaten record at major World Championships on the line in the heats of the Men’s 100m T13 event. If he qualifies his final will take place at 3,15pm this afternoon.

Michael McKillop and David Leavy had been due to run in the heats of the T38 1500m on Thursday but that will now be a straight final and will take place on Friday.

Jordan Lee will be in action in the men’s high jump.

World Para Athletics Championships, Dubai Day 7 Schedule:

Jason Smyth, Men’s 100m T13 Round 1 Heat, (5,45am Irish time).
Jordan Lee, Men’s High Jump T47 Final (2pm Irish time).

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