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Swimming star Paralympics: Team Ireland's Nicole Turner wins silver medal in S6 50m butterfly

Nicole Turner produced a fantastic swim in the S6 50m butterfly, finishing second to China's Yuyan Jiang, in a time of 36.30 seconds, to claim Ireland's fourth medal at these Games.

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Nicole Turner of Ireland celebrates finishing second in the Women's S6 50 metre butterfly final at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre on day six during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Nicole Turner of Ireland celebrates finishing second in the Women's S6 50 metre butterfly final at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre on day six during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Nicole Turner of Ireland celebrates finishing second in the Women's S6 50 metre butterfly final at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre on day six during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

After the excitement of Jason Smyth's gold medal in the 100m on Sunday, it was back to business for Team Ireland.

Three Irish athletes competed in the swimming pool in their heats, all of them making it to their respective finals, with Nicole Turner claiming silver in the S6 50m butterfly, whilst Kerrie Leonard saw her campaign in archery come to an end after a brilliant showing in Tokyo 2020.

Nicole Turner produced a fantastic swim in the S6 50m butterfly, finishing second to China's Yuyan Jiang, in a time of 36.30 seconds, to claim Ireland's fourth medal at these Games.

In her second Paralympics, the 19-year-old from Portarlington had high hopes going into today’s final after a wonderful performance in the heats earlier in the day. It took a world-record display by her Chinese rival to deny Turner the heat win earlier.

She competed in the final as the second fastest overall in her favoured event and didn't disappoint.

Turner pipped USA's Elizabeth Marks to second spot. Last Saturday, she finished seventh in the 100m breaststroke (SB6) final, but after a fifth place finish in the butterfly in Rio, this event was her main focus as a target for a medal and she has now delivered.

Afterwards, a delighted Turner said: "It hasn't sunk in at all. I suppose, looking back on Rio, being so close to that bronze medal, the aim was just to get on the podium in Tokyo. I never thought in a million years that it would be silver. I thought I'd be fighting for bronze."

She added: "Because of the way the way the system works, people can go up and down in classification, so there are new people in there. I had an aim coming in here, but to reach the podium, with the competitiveness in there (the category), it hasn't sunk in."

Turner's medal is Ireland's fourth in Tokyo, with as the teenager joins the cycling duo of Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal as silver medalists, with Ellen Keane (swimming) and Jason Smyth (track) both winning gold.

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Barry McClements of Ireland competes in the Men's S7 100 metre backstroke final at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre on day six during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Barry McClements of Ireland competes in the Men's S7 100 metre backstroke final at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre on day six during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Barry McClements of Ireland competes in the Men's S7 100 metre backstroke final at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre on day six during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Barry McClements has finished seventh in the S9 100m backstroke final at the Paralympics in Tokyo in a new personal best time of 1:05.76.

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The 19-year old said afterwards he was very happy with his performance. Earlier, he set a new PB in the heats when he finished fourth in 1:06.31. Before coming to Japan, he hadn’t broken 1:07.

“My aim is for Paris (Paralymics in 2024). This is a good stepping-stone,” he told RTÉ after the final.

McClements had been the first Irish athlete in the pool on Monday where he set the tone for what was to follow by qualifying from his heat with his second personal best in two events.

“I’m good after that. I qualified and a PB,“ the Co. Down swimmer said, speaking after the heat.

“Happy, five days since I was in the pool racing. So it’s just about keeping ticking over. I always have the speed to go out fast. Just coming back, I died a little bit, but I set a personal best and qualified.”

Ireland’s youngest and busiest Paralympian, Róisín Ní Riain, returned to the pool again on Monday for the heats of the S13 200m Individual Medley and she again produced an outstanding performance with a third-place finish to guarantee her progression to the final.

Despite the quality of her performance, Ní Riain is adamant that there is more to come: “It was okay, an alright swim, I would have liked it to be a bit faster but I got another chance tonight. Hopefully, I can do well then.”

ARCHERY

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Kerrie Leonard of Ireland competing in the W2 Compound Women's Open 1/8 Elimination Round. Photo: Sportsfile

Kerrie Leonard of Ireland competing in the W2 Compound Women's Open 1/8 Elimination Round. Photo: Sportsfile

Kerrie Leonard of Ireland competing in the W2 Compound Women's Open 1/8 Elimination Round. Photo: Sportsfile

Kerrie Leonard’s Paralympic Games experience was brought to an end on Monday under the blazing Tokyo sun by Stepanida Artakhinova of the Russian Paralympic Committee.

Leonard was in contention throughout the head-to-head last-16 match until the third end when Kerrie shot a costly 24 compared to her opponents 29. She did manage to win the next end with a superb 29, but the damage had been done at that stage and Artakhinova was able to see it out for the win. Leonard was pleased with her first Paralympic experience and is already looking forward to more:

"It’s amazing to have made the last 16 in the Paralympics and it shows, if you’re given the opportunity, just how much you can do if you go for it," she said afterwards.

SHOOTING

Phil Eaglesham produced a PB performance to finish with a score of 626.6, adding 3.9 to his total. It left him in 14th place overall.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Team Ireland Schedule Day 6

S9 100m Backstroke heat, Barry McClements, 1:06.31 4th Place (PB)

S9 100m Backstroke final, Barry McClements, 1:05.76 7th Place (PB)

S5 50m Butterfly heat, Nicole Turner, 36:54 2nd Place (PB) Qualifies for final (9.57am)

S5 50m Butterfly final, Nicole Turner, 36.30 i2nd Place (PB) Wins silver medal

SH2 R4, Qualifiers, Philip Eaglesham, 14th overall

S13 200 Individual Medley heat, Róisín Ní Riain 3rd Place 2:34.24 Qualifies for final (11.42am)

10:59am, Women’s Individual Compound Open, 1/8 Eliminations, Kerrie Leonard beaten 131-141

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