Belfast’s Michael McKillop became Ireland’s first world champion of 2011 when he took gold in a world record 800m performance at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.
McKillop, the reigning Paralympic and World 800m champion, broke his own world record by 0.49sec in setting a new T37 800m world record of 1.58.90 earlier today. McKillop who turned 21 yesterday beat Brad Scott of Australia into second place while Khaled Hanani of Algeria took the bronze medal.
Following his victory, McKillop commented, “My plan was to hit it hard with 450m to go as the Australian is a strong 400m runner, I knew I could psychologically break him with a long kick for home. It wasn’t easy in the wind and I tightened slightly in the home straight but just managed to scrape under the old World Record.”
James Nolan, Irish Team Manager, commented, “Sometimes it can be more difficult when you are expected to perform and deliver, Michael handled himself very well. He had a plan, executed the plan and the end result is a gold medal for Ireland and a new World Record.”
Three Irish athletes are scheduled to compete tomorrow on the final day of the IPC Athletics World Championships. Catherine Wayland, a silver medal winner in the F51 Club throw earlier this week, competes in the F51 Discus final, Rosemary Tallon will feature in the F53 Discus final and reigning European champion Orla Barry is a real medal hope in the F57 Discus final.