LISTEN: "I'm proud of what I did" - Pat O'Leary finishes sixth in the final of the KL3 200m canoeing

He finished in a time of 42.783

Pat O'Leary

Image: @ParalympicIRE/Twitter

Patrick O'Leary has finished sixth in the final of the KL3 200m canoeing this afternoon in Rio.

O'Leary booked his spot in the final after quick-fire heats yesterday and produced a another good performance in the final this afternoon.

"I am [satisfied]," he told Newstalk Sport's Oisin Langan. "When you look at the performance you always go in hoping against hope. But looking at the performances, the three guys that medalled were ahead of me and it would have taken an awful lot.

"I know how hard I've worked, so anyone ahead of me must have worked bloody hard to get there. I'm proud of what I did and if I'm sixth in the world, it ain't so bad."

O'Leary talked about the battle through the last 50m and the impact it has on your body while trying to maintain your best posture and performance. 

"It makes it difficult because you know if you're not getting the pain you're not doing the work. You've no choice.

"We would do back-to-back 200m [races] every 20 minutes, maybe for or five of them. By the time you get to the fourth or the fifth one, the pain starts about 10m in. 

"You have to be a bit of a sadist to do this in some senses. It's absolutely a spectacular sport. I went out for my warm down yesterday on this course and it was honestly the nicest paddle I've ever had."

He refused to discuss what his long term plans would be, instead saying that he would be focusing on the immediate future rather than on Tokyo four years down the line.

"I think it's really looking to the rest of this year and next year. We have worlds and Europeans every year so there's always something to work for. Four years is a long time away and I don't think it's realistic to be talking about it for me. It's more about getting ourselves reset and to take a break. Start again. I'll see where I am at the end of next season and we'll  have a better idea."

He also reflected on the race and what points he felt he was able to replicate from training in the build-up to the Games.

"I've always been traditionally a good starter because my background is in canoe polo which is an explosive sport. My start isn't really the problems, the problem is after about 20m or 30m where you try and transition into a maintaining pace.

"What we've been working on is sitting tall. I did that and it carried me through about the next 100m. The last 50m is just pure pain. If you go into that last 50m with your posture right and your stroke right, even though you're in pain you'll maintain that. If you go in like a bag of bones nothing will happen.

"So I went in, sat tall and kept it going. The last three or four stroke were a bit on the wobbly side alright, but sure we'll take that."