Golden day for Firth and McKillop at Paralympic Games

Michael McKillop

Michael McKillop

Northern Ireland athletes Bethany Firth and Michael McKillop enjoyed more Paralympic Games gold medal success in Rio yesterday.

Swimmer Bethany Firth won her second gold and Great Britain’s 21st of the Rio Paralympic Games.

Bethany Firth

Bethany Firth

Seapatrick girl Firth, who won the S14 100m backstroke last Thursday, was up against team mate Jessica-Jane Applegate in the final of the S14 200m freesytle.

Applegate was the defending champion, having won the four lengths freestyle at London 2012 and both were fasted qualifiers for the final in Rio.

But Firth, the world record holder dominated the race, winning in a Paralympic record of two minutes 03.30 seconds. Applegate was second in 2mins 06.92secs.

Earlier in the day, Glengormley’s Michael McKillop retained his Olympic T37 1500m title and secured Ireland’s second gold of the Games.

McKillop, 26, held off a challenge from Canada’s Liam Stanley to win in 4:12.11 as he took the fourth Paralympic gold of his career.

McKillop won 800m gold in Beijing before earning a double at London 2012.

McKillop had struggled before Rio to find fom due to a vitamin deficiency issue, but he put that behind him yesterday

“The positive is I’ve come here and defended my title. I represent the island of Ireland, north and south, and hopefully people feel I’ve done them proud,” added McKillop