Greta Streimikyte spoke of her joy at winning gold for Ireland over the summer and what her future has in store for her.
The Business Management masters student was victorious for Ireland in the European Para Athletics Championships in Berlin during the summer.
Greta’s was the first of six gold medals for Ireland as the team won a further three bronze medals to finish 11th in the medal table.
Streimikyte ran a convincing 1500m race in the T13 category to finish eleven seconds quicker than her closest rival.
— World Para Athletics (@ParaAthletics) August 21, 2018
T13 athletes have the least severe visual impairment. They have the highest visual acuity or a visual field of less than 20 degrees radius.
The Lithuanian-born athlete was a relative latecomer to athletics, having started after she moved to Ireland in her teens, but drew inspiration from some of the great athletes from the world and from Ireland too.
“I started athletics when I was old, let’s be honest I was like 17 years old, so when I joined, there were big stars like Usain Bolt or Jason Smyth, Michael McKillop or Ciara Mageean let’s say, from the Irish perspective.
“You can see those athletes doing brilliantly and they are a very huge, I suppose inspiration, to see what the hard work can do if you really want to achieve something.”
The middle-distance para athlete was understandably elated after winning in Berlin, saying it was an incredible experience and that you can’t put into words the feeling you get when you stand on top of the podium.
Two years previously she had finished a very impressive fourth at the Paralympic games in Rio Di Janeiro. So which of these achievements means more to the Clonliffe Harriers runner?
“I suppose it’s slightly different because, well, you know Rio is a much bigger competition than European Championships.”
“At that stage, when I came fourth, for me, ok I couldn’t say it’s like winning a medal, but it was for me my biggest achievement.”
“Now I’ve won a gold medal, obviously the big change is standing on a podium representing Ireland and the national anthem was playing, it was a huge honour, I suppose that was slightly missing in Rio, but we will see what the future holds.”
Having started athletics at a relatively old age, Streimikyte has come on leaps and bounds, with her first time representing Ireland being only three months before the Paralympic games in 2016 in Rio.
For the 23-year-old, her priorities are very clear moving forward.
“First of all, I need to finish my master’s in Business School. I suppose first of all Tokyo is always going to be and will be my priority, but I have World Championships in November 2019 in Dubai, so I would like to take it step by step.”
“Making the team to Dubai would be amazing so this is my goal and then there’s only going to be nine months left to Tokyo so hopefully I make the team for Tokyo, that would be amazing.”
Image Credit: Luc Percival / Sportsfile