NI paralympians win praise as Tokyo games close: Six medal haul for local athletes

Congratulations have been given to all local athletes who competed in the Tokyo Paralympics, which closed today after 12 days of competition.

Sunday, 5th September 2021, 11:43 am
Great Britain's Bethany Firth celebrates winning the silver medal in the Women's 300m Individual Medley final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre during day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan. Picture date: Tuesday August 31, 2021.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey was amongst those who congratulated the local paralympians.

Overall, athletes from Northern Ireland brought home six medals, with Bethany Firth winning two gold and two silver medals for her success in swimming – the ninth medal of her career; and Jason Smyth a gold medal for his success in the 100 metres race – the sixth medal of his career. James MacSorley was also part of the wheelchair basketball team that took bronze – his first Paralympic medal.

Minister Hargey said: “We will look back at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games with great pride at the remarkable achievements of our local Paralympians. To watch all seven of our athletes compete, in what has been one of the memorable Games in the most unique of circumstances, has been inspiring and I congratulate all of them on their success.

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“To take on the rest of the world in their chosen sport is no mean feat and I congratulate Bethany Firth, Jason Smyth and James MacSorley for their medal wins. I am delighted that once again they have been recognised as the best in the world in that sport.

“It is also important that I recognise those who provided support to the athletes in the run up to and during the games. Credit must go to all the coaches, clubs, administrators, medical personnel and support staff who are critical to ensuring that those competing were as prepared as they could have been. Also, let’s not forget all the friends and families cheering their loved ones on back home and who offer invaluable support.

“We have been extremely proud to support each and every one of our Paralympians and to share in the highs and lows of the competitions. They will have inspired budding athletes to aim for the best or simply have triggered an interest in many to try out a new sport.”