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Women in Sport

30th Aug 2021

“Best day of my life” – Nicole Turner delivers joyous interview after silver medal win

Patrick McCarry

Nicole Turner

“To be honest, it’s not just for me.”

Her whole body shaking and a smile never far from her lips, Nicole Turner delivered the sort of interview that shows just how much her silver medal will be cherished for years to come.

The 19-year-old came home second in the final of the Women’s S6 50-metre butterfly, in Tokyo, to win silver and claim the fourth medal of these games for Team Ireland.

Turner, at the age of 14, narrowly missed out on a medal in the same event at Rio 2016 and had set her sights on a podium finish at these games. Like all Paralympians, 2021 had to be circled in the calendar after the 2020 games were cancelled, but she never lost focus.

In her post-race interview with RTÉ, Turner’s glee radiated throughout and lifted many spirits. “It hasn’t sunk in at all,” she began.

“The aim after Rio was to get on the podium in Tokyo but I ever in a million years thought it would be silver; I always thought it would be a fight for bronze.

“I think I was shaking before the race even started to be honest! The past five years have been pretty challenging but I suppose the extra year did me justice.”

Nicole Turner of Ireland with her silver medal after competing in the Women’s S6 50 metre butterfly final at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre. (Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile)

Reminded by reporter Eamon Horan that her mum was looking for her to get back to her many post-race messages, Turner commented:

“I’m sorry, I’ll start texting you now!

“She gives out to me because I have a group chat with my brothers, and I reply to that the odd time. And she does ask, ‘How come you have time to reply to them, and not me?!’

“But I’m done now, so she can talk to me all she wants!”

Turner thanked her coach, Dave Malone, and strength and conditioning coach, Niamh Buffini, before dedicating the win to her parents.

“My mam drives me to and from training every day,” she said. “Without her I wouldn’t be standing here today.

“It feels like a dream come true. This is honestly the best day of my life. It’s for everyone at home – it’s not for me.”

After the gold medal win for Jason Smyth, on Sunday, this has been a great 24 hours for Team Ireland in Tokyo.