THE President of Ireland has paid tribute to Ireland’s Paralympians after a bumper day in Rio yesterday.
Michael D Higgins tweeted his congratulations for Ellen Keane, who won Ireland’s first medal in the pool at the Games with a bronze in the SB8 100m Breaststroke final.
"My sincere congratulations to @keane_ellen on winning Bronze in Rio. She is an inspiration to many in Ireland."
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) September 15, 2016
Despite slipping into fourth spot at the halfway stage, the 21-year-old from Clontarf pushed on the final quarter to finish two seconds quicker than Poland’s Paulina Wozniak, with a time of 1:23.07.
Keane’s medal was the last of four on Wednesday after a brilliant day for the country’s cyclists. Colin Lynch took silver in the C2 Time Trial, before there were golds for Eoghan Clifford in the C3 Time Trial and the tandem of Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal in the Women’s B Time Trial.
On an historic day for Team Ireland, the President said: "On behalf of the people of Ireland I want to convey my congratulations to Ellen Keane on winning bronze in the 100m breaststroke, to Colin Lynch on winning his silver medal in the C2 time trial, to his roommate Eoghan Clifford on winning a second medal in Rio, a richly-deserved gold, and to Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal on their gold in the B tandem time trial."
"These athletes have shown what can be accomplished, and their phenomenal performances have inspired the nation."
Keane, who competed at London 2012 when she was 17, expressed her surprise at realising she had landed a medal.
“When I finished I didn't think I'd won a medal and then I looked up and saw the three,” she said.
“I was looking at the numbers frantically! I couldn't believe it!
“I'm actually a bit annoyed at that time because I know I can go faster but I just created my own luck there in being the most recovered.”