Swimmer Ellen Keane has won Ireland's first gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo after she recorded a personal best to win the SB8 100m breaststroke final.
Keane came into Thursday's final with high hopes after she won her heat with a personal best time of 1:21.71 but she exceeded all expectations by shaving a further two seconds off her personal best to take gold in 1:19.93.
To those who’ve said I’m the calmest gold medal winner they’ve ever seen…
I’m currently sitting in the food hall by myself having a little cry.
It’s finally sinking in.
Some dreams do come true 🥇
2008 - 6th
2021 - 1st
Thank you for all the support x pic.twitter.com/ZvAu4QKC4S— Ellen Keane 💜 (@keane_ellen) August 26, 2021
The 26-year-old trailed New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe by half a length at the halfway stage but stormed back in the final length to overtake Pascoe with 25 meters remaining.
From there, she never looked back and touched home first ahead of Pascoe, who finished in a time of 1:20.32.
Russian athlete Adelina Razetdinova took bronze with a time of 1:24.77 while defending champion Katarina Roxon of Canada had to settle for fourth place.
Keane, who won a bronze medal in the same event in Rio de Janeiro five years ago, revealed that not everything went to plan in her spectacular gold-medal performance on Thursday.
She said that her goggles malfunctioned and started filling up with water as soon as she dove into the pool and said that she couldn't properly make out other swimmers.
"I don't think it's fully sunk in yet," she told RTÉ Sport after the thrilling final. "When I dove in my goggles filled up with water but I think that was maybe a good thing because I couldn't see where the girls were around me.
"Just on the turn I saw Sophie a little bit but I just had a game plan in mind and I stuck to that."
Keane becomes Ireland's first gold medalist at the 2020 Paralympic Games and the 67th Irish Paralympic athlete in history to win gold.
On Twitter, the inspirational Irish woman thanked her coaches and physiologist noting, "teamwork makes the dream work."
Teamwork makes the dream work 😅
This gold is just as much theirs as it is mine 🥇 https://t.co/g30ADuvpxq— Ellen Keane 💜 (@keane_ellen) August 26, 2021