Ireland has put up a great showing in Tokyo this year, and that streak continues as LGBTQ+ athlete Katie George Dunlevy and her cycling team mate Eve McCrystal are now among the Paralympians bringing home medals.
The pair claimed the Silver for the 3,000m individual pursuit. In their qualifying round they had actually set a new world record time, but Lora Fachie and Corinne Hall of Team GB broke that record in their own qualifier.
It was a closely fought final, and while the UK team took home the Gold, it was an incredible achievement for the pair. Dunlevy later said in an interview, “I’m in a bit of shock, it is absolutely amazing. If someone said to me before that I would get a medal in the pursuit I would never have thought it in my wildest dreams. We were hoping to do a good ride and get a PB (personal best). To get that and a world record, I’m just speechless.”
Team mate Eve McCrystal added, “I think we did ourselves proud, we left nothing to chance, no stone was left unturned by our coach Neill and Cycling Ireland. He made sure that we would get here in best possible form. To get that performance, I just can’t believe it. I’m so proud of Katie and I know she is proud of me.”
Other Irish athletes to take home medals include Nicole Turner who won Silver in the 50m butterfly event. In an interview with RTÉ, Turner shared her amazement at her success. “Looking back on Rio, being so close to that Bronze medal, the aim was to get on the podium in Tokyo. I never in a million years thought it would be Silver. I always thought it would be a fight for Bronze.”
Derry native Jason Smyth brought home the Gold for 1oom – his sixth Gold medal to date. He too shared his delight considering this had been a year of personal injuries putting a dent in his training. He explained, “Nine months ago, I was wondering if this was me done. Three months ago I was wondering would I be at the Games and to be able to be at this level. But we got things right and we came together right at the right time.”
This is now Team Ireland’s fourth medal win after Ellen Keane took home the Gold in the 100m breaststroke last week in a spectacular performance.
Tokyo 2020 has been exceptional for queer representation with the most openly LGBTQ+ Paralympians taking part.
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