Michael McKillop successfully defended his 1,500metres crown in Rio, claiming his fourth Paralympic gold medal in the process.

McKillop is one of Ireland's stars on the international scene, holding gold medals in the 800m and 1,500m from London 2012, and 800m gold from Beijing in 2008.

The Antrim man also successfully defended his world titles for both distances at the World Championships in Doha in 2015, and he didn't disappoint again at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Algeria's Madjid Djemai made the early running, setting a fast pace, with world record holder McKillop happy to follow at a safe distance in second.

McKillop moved onto Djemai’s shoulder with two laps to go, with Canada’s Liam Stanley and Hafid Aharak of Morocco close behind.

Ballymena man McKillop then took up the running with 700m left and with only Stanley able to follow. The Canadian youngster tracked McKillop ominously until the top of the final bend, when McKillop opened up and sprinted clear to retain his crown in a time of 4:12.11.

Stanley came in second, just under four seconds behind the champion, with Djemai third and Aharak fourth.

It was a devastating finish from McKillop, who had been a little uncertain of his form following a severely interrupted training schedule in the run-up to the Games.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny led the congratulations for McKillop, hailing the 26-year-old's inspirational performance.

“I would like to congratulate Michael on his brilliant victory," said Kenny. 

"He has underlined his tremendous talent here again to add to the three gold medals he has already won.

“He is a truly inspirational figure and his achievements are a worthy reward for his dedication to his sport.”