Monday, September 8, 2008


In Beijing at the Paralympics Games, Team Ireland has hit the ground running with two national records in Beijing's Laoshan Veldrome and many other fine performances on the opening day of competition.

Sydney gold medalist Gay Shelly was the first Irish athlete in action, with a 5-2 win over Brock Richardson of Canada in the individual boccia competition. Shelly's team mates Bobbie Connolly, Padraic Moran and Tom Leahy, also started their campaigns, while teenage swimmer Ellen Keane raced in the Water Cube, and Eimear Breathnach featured in the individual table tennis.
Cyclist Enda Smyth from Santry finished seventh in the 3km Individual Pursuit (CP4 class) smashing his own Irish record by 2.674 seconds with a time of 3:55.919. A second Irish record of 1:16.208 came from Catherine Walsh with sighted pilot rider Joanna Hickey (B & VI class) in the final of the women's 1km time trial. The duo knocked 2.318 seconds off their previous best, in a final where Great Britian took gold in world record time (1:09.066).
Michael Delaney with sighted pilot rider David Peelo (B & VI 1-3 class) finished 13th in the 4km Individual Pursuit.

Tom Leahy lost to Risa Kainuma (Jap) 2-4 in the individual boccia. Dubliner Bobbie Connolly also lost to China's Cao. For Games debutant Padraic Moran there was joy when he beat world No 2 David Smith (Gbr) by a whopping 9-0.
In their second pool matches, Shelly defeated Ibarbure (Arg), Leahy lost 5-1 to Bentley (Gbr), Bobbie Connolly beat Leglice of Argentina 4-3, while Moran lost 2-4 to Marques (Por).

In the Water Cube, Clontarf's Ellen Keane got to within 0.34seconds of her best ever time in the 100m butterfly, finishing 6th. Her favoured event, the 100m breaststroke, comes on Tuesday. In table tennis, Eimear Breathnach from Ballinteer lost 1-3 to Pushpasheva (Rus).

Day 1: Sun, Sept7

Boccia (Individual competition, pool matches)
Gabriel Shelly BC1 bt B.Richardson (Can) 4-2; bt M Ibarbure (Arg) 3-2
Padraic Moran BC1 bt D Smith (Gbr) 9-0; lost A Marques (Por) 2-4
Tom Leahy BC2 lost R.Kainuma, Japan 2-4; lost D Bentley (Gbr) 1-5
Roberta Connolly BC2 lost 5-0 to F.Cao (Chn) 0-5; bt R Leglice (Arg) 4-3.

Enda Smyth CP4, 3km Ind Pursuit qual, 7th, 3:55.919 (IR).
Michael Delaney (with David Peelo) B&VI (1-3), 4km Ind Pursuit qual, 13th, 4:49.911
Catherine Walsh (with Joanna Hickey) B&VI (1-3), 1Km TT final, 7th, 1:16.208 (IR)

Ellen Keane S9, 100m bfly, heats, 6th, 1:18.50

Table Tennis
Eimear Breathnach F1-2, singles r1, lost N Pushpasheva (Rus) 1-3.

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