Wednesday, September 10, 2008

PARALYMPICS: Day 4

On day 4 at the Paralympics, David Malone finished fifth in the second heat of the 100m backstroke at the Water Cube - tenth overall with a time of 1:16.80 - and not enough to make the final.

Malone then announced his retirement from international competition. In a hugely successful 12 year career, the 30-year-old Dubliner won silver in Atlanta, gold in Sydney and silver in Athens four years ago.

One of Ireland’s most successful Paralympians and Sydney Gold medalist Dave Malone, brought the curtain down on his spectacular swimming career in the Water Cube this morning. Swimming in the second heat of S8 100m backstroke, Malone clocked a time of 1:16.80 to finish in fifth; tenth overall, which was not enough to book a place in the final of the event.

“I was always going to retire after this meet; it’s my fourth Paralympic Games, and in my head I always wanted to go out at the highest level,” he said.

“Winning the gold in Sydney 2000, eight years ago now; that was a huge moment because that year I’d won the World Championships, the European Championships, and I held the world record. It was the only one I hadn’t won and it was a big milestone. It’s probably the greatest moment in anyone’s career to win a medal at the Paralympic Games. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.”

“I held the world record for 100m backstroke for ten years, and it was only broken last year. I’ve had an international career spanning back to 1993 so I’ve had a really amazing journey. It was always going to end here.”

Malone is the head coach of the National Aquatic Centre swim team in Abbotstown and will remain heavily involved in the sport.

“The future of Paralympic swimming in general is very bright in Ireland, there’s some incredible talent coming through; the best I’ve ever probably seen coming through at once.”

“It really is exciting times ahead; hopefully my career has inspired some of those to get involved, and the new generation can inspire young Paralympic athletes and able bodied athletes to get into the pool and start swimming.

“I’m very much looking forward to a new chapter in coaching, and being heavily involved in sport from another aspect. I go away with great memories.”

In cycling, Michael Delaney and pilot David Peelo set a new Irish record in the sprint at the Velodrome. Ireland's 7-a-side footballers were beaten 0-7 by the world champions Ukraine.

Archer, Sean Heary, who qualified in 20th place, beat Michael Arenz of Germany 108 to 104 to reach the compound bow quarter-finals.

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