Ellen Keane claimed Ireland’s first medal of the Tokyo Paralympics with a sensational gold in the SB8 100m breaststroke final.
The Dubliner recorded a personal best one minute, 19.93 seconds to hold off New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe in an exciting finish.
It is a second Paralympic medal for the Keane, who took bronze in Rio in the same event five years ago.
Adelina Razetdinova of the Russian Paralympic Committee came third.
Keane’s time beat the personal best she had set earlier on Thursday as she advanced to the final with the fastest time.
Nine-time Paralympic gold medallist Pascoe pushed just in front of Keane as they reached the turn at 50m, but the Irishwoman’s strong finish saw her surge into the lead in the final 25m of an engrossing final.
The gold medal marks the peak of a Paralympic journey spanning well over a decade for Keane, who first competed at the Games in 2008, aged just 13.
Four years later in London she reached three finals but had to wait until 2016 before claiming her first medal.
“This is my fourth Games and I just wanted to come and enjoy it, to be honest this is the first Games that I’ve not been nervous for,” Keane told Channel 4.
“I think that played a really big role… I’ve had problems with nerves and anxiety when it comes to big races because I have been around a long time and I’ve only won one gold at Europeans [in 2018].
“I just tried not to think about it too much [and] tried to enjoy it.”
Keane will return to the pool next Wednesday for the SM9 200m individual medley.