Paralympic bronze for Galway cyclist

Galwegians celebrated sporting success on the international stage with cyclist Eoghan Clifford claiming bronze at the Rio Paralympic Games this week.

Bruff-born Clifford, who is a lecturer at NUI Galway, took the medal in the 3km individual pursuit at the velodrome in the Olympic Park.

Having qualified in fourth position, Clifford won his medal in a time of 3.40.201 in a race-off against Canada’s Michael Sametz. He pulled out a 2.5 second lead which he maintained for much of the race to see off the younger rider and claim bronze.

Although a world champion, this was Clifford's first Paralympic medal, and is another achievement for the 35-years-old who, as a teen, was diagnosed with hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (HMSN ).

Clifford said he was in agony from the start with an injury to his knee.

" I won it because I felt I would let so many people down if I didn’t medal today. In training I’ve been very good in the first four laps, but the difference today was whereas normally from my fourth lap to my 12th lap I don’t drop time, today I was eating time."

Clifford said he thought he might break the record after the first four laps, but his legs were not up for it.

And there is more good news for Galway. NUIG canoeist Pat O’Leary who lives in Moycullen, has qualified for the final of the men’s KL3 canoeing event which takes place today. The amputee, originally from Cork, finished third in both heat and semi-final to book his place.

In other action Galway's best known Paralympian Rena McCarron Rooney bowed out in the table tennis quarter-finals, losing to the world number one from Korea 11-5,11-8, 11-3.

And in athletics, Deirdre Mongan was disappointed with her fifth place in the women’s shot putt competition, after a third round effort of 4.04 metres - 20 centimetres below her season’s best.



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