McNamara grabs third Irish Paralympics medal

Mayo received a boost ahead of the county's All-Ireland football final on Sunday, as Achill Island teenager Conal McNamara claimed silver in this evening's T13 400m final in Athens.

Mayo received a boost ahead of the county's All-Ireland football final on Sunday, as Achill Island teenager Conal McNamara claimed silver in this evening's T13 400m final in Athens.

The 17-year-old visually-impaired sprinter ran a personal best of 50.62 seconds to finish behind Royal Mitchell of the United States.

His previous best mark was 50.92.

The pre-race favourite Mitchell paid tribute to the young Irishman afterwards. "I'm so proud of Conal," said the Pennyslvania native, who ran a personal best of 49.78. "Last year at the Worlds in Quebec I didn't even know him, but he has improved a lot since then."

McNamara burst clear of the chasing pack to grab silver in a fleet-footed final 100 metres, but has already set his sights on a further gold.

"I had a plan for this race. I was very focused on it," said the 2003 European silver medallist. "In the first fifty metres I ran very fast and then I kept a distance from the other competitors.

"I'm pretty satisfied with silver but next time I want gold. I'll be back for Beijing!"

McNamara, who completed his Leaving Cert this year, trains with the Westport club and is an active member of his local Pipe band.

His success marks Team Ireland's third medal going into the Games' final weekend. Clare 800m runner Derek Malone struck bronze on Monday, while Dublin swimmer David Malone swam to silver in the S8 100m backstroke on Wednesday.

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