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Published: 10:08 | 10/9/16

Clifford claims bronze for Ireland


Eoghan Clifford says he was "in bits" after winning bronze in the C3 Individual Pursuit to secure Ireland's second medal of the 2016 Paralympics.

The Galway cyclist followed sprinter Jason Smyth onto the podium in Rio de Janeiro by beating Michael Sametz of Canada in the bronze medal race.

The 35-year-old set a time of 3:40.201, more than a second quicker than the rider who had outpaced him by 4/5 of a second in qualifying, while struggling with the pain of a knee injury he suffered during his preparations for Rio.

It was an impressive response from Clifford, who only took up the sport two years ago, after he only just qualified for the bronze medal race as Japan's Masaki Fujita dropped dramatically dropped off the pace following a strong start in the qualifier.

"I didn’t really win that because I’ve better legs, I was in agony from the start with my knee and stuff, I won it because I felt I would let so many people down if I didn’t medal today," he told the 42.ie.

"Even though I wanted to roar, I’m pretty delighted at this stage. To get something, as I would have let a lot of people down if I didn’t. It’s good that I had a good start because at the end I was in bits."

Clifford says the knee injury hampered his approach to the Paralympics, and that he could not gain any consistency in the build-up.

"In training I had done some times that wouldn’t have got me next to near a bronze medal and then two days later I would do a time that was close to the world or Paralympic record. It was frustrating from that point of view. I didn’t feel I had any control over it," he continued.

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