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Irish Wheelchair Marathon Paralympian Shows Astonishing Bravery On Final Day Of Games

Irish Wheelchair Marathon Paralympian Shows Astonishing Bravery On Final Day Of Games
By PJ Browne Updated

Patrick Monahan took up wheelchair racing after being inspired by the Games in London four years ago.

Today, he may have inspired another generation of Paralympians.

The Kildare man finished 16th in the T54 marathon in the searing Rio heat.

Several competitors pulled out before the race had even reached the half-way mark due to temperatures hitting 32 degrees.

Patrick Monahan was not one of them. That was despite far from ideal preparation.

Speaking after the race, Monahan revealed he had spent four days in bed due to illness. That was an illness which also forced him to withdraw from the 800m.

If it was any other marathon I would have dropped out after a lap.

I had no energy at all, whether it was the heat or the illness last week I'm not sure, but I was drained. I knew it was going to be tough but I didn't think it would be that tough.

I was in bed for four days, in solitary confinement. But I was really well looked after and did some light training but today I was just happy to get to the finish.

Monahan said that what kept him going, despite his exhaustion, was the thought of his family, his girlfriend and his community.

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My mam and dad are here, my family and girlfriend at home, the support I got from my community and club (Le Cheile), I just had to get to the finish line.

I didn't think there was a sport out there for me four years ago but I love this sport. I'm proud that I've got this far in quite a short time.I wasn't happy with the time but, in some ways, it was my greatest achievement getting to the finish line today.

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