PARALYMPICS: Northern Ireland nine raise the bar in Rio

Great Britain's Bethany Firth celebrates after winning gold in the Women's 200m IM SM14 Final at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium during the tenth day of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Pic by PA.
Great Britain's Bethany Firth celebrates after winning gold in the Women's 200m IM SM14 Final at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium during the tenth day of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Pic by PA.
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Northern Ireland athletes continued to lead the way on the world stage at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

The nine home athletes finished Rio 2016 having secured six medals - including five gold - making it the most successful Games to date.

Bethany Firth. Pic by PA.

Bethany Firth. Pic by PA.

Jason Smyth cruised into the 100m T13 final and secured gold in a time of 10.64 while teammate Michael McKillop showed his dominance once again in the 1500m, claiming gold.

Newcomer Claire Taggart made her debut for GB in the boccia mixed team event. The Larne athlete reached the quarter-finals.

Northern Ireland had seven-a-side footballers competing for both ParalympicsGB and Paralympics Ireland.

The trio of David Leavy (GB), Cormac Birt and Ryan Walker all made their Paralympic debuts on the way to, respectively, fifth and sixth.

Phillip Eaglesham from Dungannon made his debut for Ireland in the 10m rifle prone.

Ballymena teenager Katie Morrow was the youngest of the NI athletes to compete, helping GB to top four in wheelchair basketball.

However, the golden girl of the Games was undoubtedly swimming sensation Bethany Firth.

The Seaforde athlete surpassed all expectations, securing not only three gold medals and one silver but clocking up two World records and a Paralympic record.

“Our athletes deserve all the credit for all the hard work and dedication that has led to these amazing results,” said Kevin O’Neill, CEO of Disability Sport NI. “Disability Sport NI is proud to be able to offer all the help we can, however, this is only possible due to the funding we receive.

“The £1m support over the next for years, recently announced by the Department for Communities, will ensure we can continue to assist development of local elite athletes, as well as encourage participation in sport amongst everyone with disabilities.

“We really hope to be able to carry on our work beyond that period as well.”