Michaela Walsh, Grainne Walsh and Kurt Walker overcame their boxing opponents bringing the guaranteed medal tally for Team Ireland to five on a successful afternoon of action for Ireland at the European Games in Minsk. Badminton and canoeing also saw success with Nhat securing a pass to the round of 16 and Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds winning their match. Rachael Darragh fought hard in her final Group Stage match, but it was not her day. In canoeing Jenny Egan qualified to the B Finals of the Women’s K1 200, and Ronan Foley clocked a personal best in his Men’s K1 200 semi-final.
Sixty-three athletes are competing across nine sports for Team Ireland at the European Games in Minsk, which run from the 21-30 June.
Nhat Nguyen secured his place in the last 16 of the Men’s Singles at the European Games today and earned crucial points towards Olympic qualification, as the 19-year-old beat Austria’s Luka Wraber to progress from Group F in second place.
A nervy start from the Irishman saw Wraber take the first set 21-19, but a determined and focused Nguyen recovered to take the next two sets and the game 12-21 and 14-21.
Commenting after the match, Nguyen said “I’m quite relieved, I’m really happy that I mentally turned my head around after the first set, didn’t distract myself and kind of manned up to just go for it in the second and third, which I did and I’m really happy that I did it.”
Nguyen will find out his opponent for tomorrow after this evening’s 7pm draw.
Josh Magee and Paul Reynolds recorded their first win of the tournament in the Men’s Doubles today beating Estonia’s Kristjan Kaljurand and Raul Kasner. A slow start in the first set saw the Irish team trail by 8 points but they stormed back to take the win 21-19. A more confident game two saw the pair then secure the victory 21-16.
Happy with today’s performance, the pair who have been together for just one year commented “It’s good to get a win after two tough days for us, we performed quite well the first day but the second was a bit worse, so it’s good to come back up and finish on a high.”
Rachael Darragh fought hard in her final group game, but it was Finland’s Airi Mikkela who took the match points winning 21-16, 21-19. Speaking after the match Darragh commented, “I knew before I came here that I was up for a very tough week, these girls are all ranked a lot higher than me in the world ranking but I just came here with the intention to leave my best performances on the court and I think I’ve done that so it’s a happy/sad kind of feeling at the minute.”
“This is what dreams are made of” – Sensational afternoon at boxing sees Ireland’s medal tally rise to five
Jenny Egan has qualified for the B Final in the Women’s K1 200m finishing 7th in the semi-finals today with a time of 43.427. The heats and semis of the event were within one hour of each other, and Egan knocked over a second off the time she produced in the heats earlier in the day. In the K1 200 events, the top three boats over the line in the semi-finals progress to the A Finals, with boats 4-7 moving into the B Final.
Speaking after her race, Egan said, “I’m really happy to make the B Final in the K1 200m, it’s a big improvement from a few weeks ago at the World Cups. It was a good race, it was quite windy out there, quite a side wind so you had to adjust your technique to cope with the conditions. But I’m happy with it and through to the B Final of the 200 tomorrow.”
Ronan Foley finished within one second of qualifying for the B Final in his Men’s K1 200 – finishing eighth in his heat with a personal best time of 38.413. The 19 year-old Dubliner is one of the youngest athletes on Team Ireland and is soaking up the experience.
“200m isn’t really my distance it’s more of an explosive type distance for the stronger guys out here. I’m more of an endurance guy so I prefer the 1000m. But it was good to get out there and get the experience and do my best.”
Luka Wrabber (AUT) Vs Nhat Nguyen W (IRL) 21-19, 12-21, 14-21
Josh Magee & Paul Reynolds (IRL) W Vs Kristjan Kaljurand & Paul Kasner (EST) 21-19, 21-16
Airi Mikkela (FIN) W Vs Rachael Darragh (IRL) 21-16, 21-19
Women’s Feather -57kg Q/F Ornella Wahner (GER) Vs Michaela Walsh (IRL) W 1-4
Women’s Welter -69kg Q/F Grainne Walsh (IRL) W Vs Elina Gustafsson 5-0
Men’s Bantam -56kg Q/F Samuel Kistohurry (FRA) Vs Kurt Walker W 0-5
*Two bronze medals will be awarded at the Games to the losers of the semi-final bouts.
Women’s K1 200 Heats Jenny Egan (IRL) 5th with 44.608
Women’s K1 200 Semis Jenny Egan (IRL) 7th with 43.427 Q B Final
Men’s K1 200 Heats Ronan Foley (IRL) 7th with 39.049
Men’s K1 200 Semis Ronan Foley (IRL) 8th with 38.413
DAY SIX SCHEDULE (IRISH TIME):
*Note the schedule may be subject to change *
17:00 Boxing – Kellie Harrington (IRL) Vs Irma Testa (ITA) Women’s Light -60kg
17:45 Boxing – Aoife O’Rourke (IRL) Quarter Finals Women’s Middle -75kg