Fourth again for Greta

by James Hendicott

PARALYMPIC athlete Greta Streimikyte excelled herself at the World Championship in London over the weekend, with the T-13 category (for athlete categorised as of ‘moderate visual impairment) runner achieving a big season’s best to finish fourth in the 1,500 metre final.
The finish might have shades of the Rio Olympics for the Swords woman where she also clocked fourth place to fractionally miss outside of a medal place in her first major championship.
Strimikyte’s time in Rio was a massive four second personal best, a time of 4.45:06, which saw the Lithuanian-born, Irish-nationalised runner beaten by two of the same athletes that were to repeat the trick in London.
Following Rio, however, Streimikyte was to spend an extended period either out injured or recovering, around the turn of the year, and had only returned to high-class competitive racing in June with a run in Berlin.
The Clonliffe Harriers and UCD runner – who spoke to the Gazette last week about her recovery and time-based targets for the race – was pleased, then, with her London time of 4.47:54, though perhaps painfully aware that a repeat of her London time would have carried her into a World Championship medal.
Streimikyte said after the race: “I’m happy that I was in the race all the way. It makes me believe that with an injury free year I can make more progress and challenge for podium positions. That race gives me confidence in my ability.”
Team coach James Nolan, meanwhile, described her race as “extremely brave and aggressive; she is just amazing at executing a race plan.
Running a season’s best in a major championships after a difficult year that was interrupted by injury, to be just 1.4 seconds off a medal demonstrates just what a big future Greta has ahead of her.”
Ahead of the event, Streimikyte had told GazetteSport of her excitement about London, but admitted she wasn’t really fully tested. “It’s impossible to know what to expect in London, but I’m confident I can have a brilliant race,” she said. “It’s really about seeing what I can do when I get there.”
She continued: “you go to every Championship aiming to get a medal, but I feel I’ll be experienced and ready for [the 2020 Olympics in] Tokyo.”
Meanwhile, Greta, a short film about the life of Streimikyte and her family, was launched in Galway over the weekend.
It tells of how the family fought for Greta’s site shortly after her birth, relocated to Ireland, naturalised, and eventually saw her progress to the Olympic finals.
It is expected to feature at a number of other film festivals over the summer before getting a more public release.

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