‘Dream come true’ as mother presents medal

His hero Sebastian Coe would have been in awe of his stunning gold medal run in the 1,500m, but Ireland’s Michael McKillop was just glad his mother got to put the medal around his neck.

The Belfast man, at just 22 years old, blew away the opposition in the 1,500m in a Paralympic record, adding to his world record time and gold medal in the 800m last week.

However, the biggest surprise was still to come and Michael admitted that when his mother Catherine walked out to present him with his second gold medal, it was a “dream come true”.

“I’ve had injury problems a couple of months ago so to be able to walk into the stadium and be able to stand at the starting line as a Paralympic champion in London and to go on and win a second gold medal was a memorable moment and one I’ll never forget. To receive the medal from my mum was a dream come true.”

“It was a huge surprise. I was standing behind the podium and we had been told who the two medal people were. All of a sudden the doors opened up and my mum walks out. I was thinking to myself: ‘Mum, you know your seat is up there, not walking out on to the track’. That’s what I thought to myself, but someone had shouted to me before we had walked out to enjoy this special moment. So I didn’t know what to expect,” he said.

While he had thought that another one of his heroes, Sebastian Coe might be presenting the medals, he was glad his biggest fan instead had the honour.

“My mum is my biggest fan and she has done everything for me. My mum and dad were the reason I got to the starting line. I do owe it all to them,” he said.

In fact, only one other mum has been given the honour of presenting a medal to their child. It was none other than Princess Anne, who gave a silver to her daughter Zara Phillips in the Olympic Games.

“I heard that last night and I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t aware of that beforehand. I am just so pleased, privileged and honoured that I was able to do that for Michael. We are behind the scenes, Michael is the one who gets up six days a week and does the training, the hard work and has the discipline to be a full time athlete. It’s down to Michael. He’s done all the work and we are just there to help him and we are just very, very proud,” said Catherine.

At just 22 years old, Michael says he will be around for another few Paralympic Games yet, while his next goal is to make the Irish Under-23 able bodied team for the European Cross Country Championships.

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