Orla Barry already throwing herself into Tokyo 2020 preparations

Paralympian Orla Barry is already targeting Toyko gold after being honoured in Cork for her silver medal in the F57 discus in Rio.

Speaking after she accepted an East Cork & District Sports’ Special Achievement Award at the Midleton Park Hotel, the Ladysbridge woman said: “Before Rio, I was thinking ‘four years is a long time and I’ve already done three Paralympics’ but you just get the bug and you want it so much, that you just keep going.

“I’m not finished yet. There’s still a lot more that I want to accomplish so I won’t stop yet.”

And Barry is confident she can make up the gap to Nassima Saifi, the Algerian gold medallist in her event.

“I’ve competed against her for a number of years and I know what she’s capable of and she knows what I’m capable of.

“Out of both of us, I probably have the most potential to move on. You look at it and 10% was the difference. I know I can pick up the 10% and she knows that I can pick it up. So I’m always going to be on her heels. Someday, I will bridge the gap between us.

“When I saw that I came second, it was almost relief that the job was done well. I didn’t get a PB on the day but was very close to it at the same time. So it was a good performance for me.”

Barry paid tribute to Paralympics Ireland staff, who “dealt with everything perfectly” during the stay in Brazil.

“They took the brunt of the things that weren’t right and they fixed it for us. It was very clean for the athletes.”

And she hopes Ireland’s haul of 11 medals will mean more investment ahead of the Toyko games and renewed focus on the identification of fresh talent, such as her fellow discus silver medallist Niamh McCarthy.

“After London, they ran a talent search and Niamh came out of that talent search and here she is, four years later, with a silver medal. You just don’t know what talent is out there.

“The fact that the team was so successful, you hope that that will be reflected in our funding and everything that Paralympics Ireland is getting, you’d hope that it would get better again with everything they’re entitled to.”


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