World Paralympic Championships: McKillop sets new world record
Michael McKillop set a new World T37 1500 metres record at the World Paralympic Championships in Christchurch yesterday - and immediately targeted an 800m gold medal tonight.
“Hopefully I can win the gold medal. It would be great to win but it’s a high quality field,” said McKillop, whose time yesterday of four minutes 14.7 seconds — when beating Algeria's Khaled Hanani — knocked almost two seconds off the old record.
“The pressure is on to achieve when you come to the World Championships.”
However, medals were not awarded as there were only two competitors in the event.
The win does however give the Belfast man, who has a mild form of Cerebral Palsy, a huge boost ahead of his main race tonight in the T37 800 metres final.
The St Malachy’s athlete is the current Olympic champion in the event, setting a new PB of one minute 59.39 seconds in Beijing in 2008.
McKillop has since lowered his best time to 1.54.40 which places him fifth on last year's Northern Ireland able bodied list.
This level of performance makes him favourite to achieve a double win in Christchurch by taking gold this evening.
Victory would be just reward for McKillop’s intense three months training regime spent in both South Africa and New Zealand — and would also give him a memorable 21st birthday present.
Limavady's Sally Brown followed up her unexpected bronze medal over 200 metres with a sixth place in the T46 100 metres final.
Meanwhile, McKillop was one of a 70-strong elite panel of Irish Paralympic athletes bidding for the London 2012 Paralympic Games announced yesterday.