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Kieran Behan

Inspirational gymnast Behan bows out on mixed opening day for Irish at Olympics

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Kieran Behan

The young Irish gymnast who caught the imagination of the world broke down in tears as his Olympic dream came to an end – then vowed to bounce back at the Rio games four years from now.

Told as a youngster that he would face the rest of his life in a wheelchair after a brain injury, Kieran Behan made headlines all over the globe before his London debut on Saturday.

Sadly the 23-year-old was eliminated from the vault and his favoured floor event when two stumbles, attributed to an ankle injury, saw him finish 16th overall.

Afterwards, Behan admitted: “It has been a very emotional day. I didn’t know what to think because I have been through so much.

“And to actually walk out on that stage, to actually be able to walk, is something I never thought would happen.

“I wasn’t nervous, I was very emotional. It is just crazy but my story is about triumph over adversity and it was a bit of adversity with my routines not going to plan but I will try and get over it and I will come back stronger.

“It was hard, but it is good.”

Ireland’s boxers continued to fly the flag on the opening day when John Joe Nevin made it through to the last 16 at bantamweight with a convincing 21-6 win over Denmark’s Denis Ceylan.

Middleweight Darren O’Neill also scored an impressive victory as he beat Nigeria’s Mudeen Akanji 15-6 in his opening bout.

There was disappointment in the cycling however as Nicolas Roche, Dan Martin and David McCann were never in contention in the road race.

Belfast’s Lisa Kearney lost her opening round match with Shugen Wu of China in judo while swimmer Barry Murphy finished last in his heats in the 100 meter breaststroke.

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