Michael McKillop wins gold at European Championships

Michael McKillop
Michael McKillop

Michael McKillop has added another European title to his name following a commanding performance to win the final of the T38 800m at the Paralympic Athletics European Championships in Swansea.

Starting in lane seven the Antrim man led from the gun. After only 200m the pair drew a clear on the field and it was evident the twenty four year old Irish athlete was not going to have it all his own way. With Kobesov still tracking McKillop going through the bell in the Irishman made a decisive push with 350m to go to which Kobesov was not able to respond. McKillop began to pull away and pushed hard to cross the line in 1:58.16, almost eight seconds ahead of the Russian, to a rousing reception from the Welsh crowd. Ukraine’s Valentyn Miedviediev took bronze in 2:16.57.

Speaking after the win a delighted McKillop said: “I won’t lie, that was tough, but I’m delighted to win the medal. The Russian is a really strong 400m runner, and I knew he’d run 51 seconds over that distance so it was really important for me to take it out hard or he would have outkicked me and that’s what I did. I pushed on for 200m after the bell and then just got through it from there.

“This is only my first 800m race of the season. It’s tough at the best of times facing into your first 800m of the season but for it to be a Championship final and that makes the win all the more satisfying,” he added.