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Published: 19:16 | 14/9/16

O'Leary ready 'to go hard' in final

Pat O'Leary says "there is no pressure on me" in Thursday's KL3 canoeing event final.

The NUIG lecturer, 43, made it through to the final after third places in both his heat and his semi-final at Lagoa Stadium.

The Corkman, who had his leg amputated following bone cancer in 2011, has six final appearances in the World and European Championships but is making his first appearance in the Paralympics because para-canoeing has not been in the Games previously.

Having achieved his first target of progressing through to the final, O'Leary says he does not feel any tension ahead of the race, which starts at 2.10pm Irish time on Thursday.

"It’s about performance for me now," he told The42.ie.

"You’re in a laned race, you go as fast as you can and that’s it. You are actually racing yourself. Whatever happens to the others happens.

"All I can do is go as hard as I can. There’s no pressure on me."

O'Leary, who clocked 45.97 secs in the heat and then went even faster in the semi-final with a time of 44.13 secs, admits that competing in the two races within a hour of each other was a tough test.

"Normally we’d do heats in the morning and the semi-finals in the evening and final the following day, but because it’s a compressed programme we only had an hour," he added.

"It does tire you out but we would do it 20 minutes apart in training so we were prepared for it.

"It’s great to get through and I’ll get a good rest now and we’ll see what tomorrow brings."

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