Walsh and Meehan Make History

Catherine Walsh Rio Finish Line

Walsh and Meehan Make History

Catherine Walsh and her guide Fran Meehan have made history, becoming Ireland's first ever paratriathletes to compete in the paralympics.

The pair finished 8th in the PT5 class of the triathlon event on Copabana beach in Rio.

Walsh and Meehan got off to a tough start during the 750m swim in the sea off Copacabana beach, emerging from the water in 10th place with a time of 17:23. But once on to the bike, the pair showed exactly why they won two paracycling medals at London 2012 - putting in the fourth quickest bike split of the day to move up to ninth place by T2.

Battle

The 5km run was a tight battle between the Walsh, Atsuko Yamada of Japan and Christine Robbins of Canada but by the finish line it was the Irish who had pulled ahead and they finished in 8th place with a time of 1hr 22mins 25secs.

Speaking to RTE after the race, seven time paralympian Catherine Walsh said they were playing catch up throughout the race:

“The main thing really was the temperature, particularly when we were on the run, so between the bike and the run it was really catching up. The sea was a bit calmer than it had been the last few days when we were training, but the swim was always our weak link, so we were actually quite happy with that element of it."

Fran Meehan added: "I am delighted, we swam a pb and we had a good bike. We pulled back another place on the run so I am delighted."

Catherine Walsh also reflected on how far the pair have come in the short time since they have taken up triathlon and had a direct message to everybody watching at home:

"It's been such a challenge I would just say to anybody who's at home - the first time I did the swim it took me over 30mins so this has not been easy so don't sit on the couch, get out there, able body, paralympic, just do it."

Meehan Walsh

Results and Video

Results from the race are available on the Rio Paralympic Website

You watch highlights of Catherine's race on the RTE Player