Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

A high five for world's fastest paralympian

By Steven Beacom

Jason Smyth flew into Brazil for the Paralympic Games with the tag of 'Fastest Paralympian in history' on his broad shoulders.

The heat was on the man from Eglinton to prove himself all over again. Cool as ever, sensational Smyth delivered.

In the Beijing Paralaympics in 2008 and the London Games four years later, Smyth had won gold medals in the T13 100m and 200m classes.

The visually-impaired sprinter, however, was unable to defend his 200m title in Rio after the International Paralympic Committee opted to remove that event from the athletics programme.

It meant that the Co Londonderry star, competing for Ireland, had just one race to get it right and continue his remarkable Paralympic Games record.

After coming through the heats, Smyth settled down in his blocks for his FIFTH final at this level. Just over 10 seconds later he had claimed his FIFTH gold medal - a staggering achievement.

Once the 100m was under way, there was just no stopping the Ulsterman as he roared home first in a time of 10.64 seconds finishing 0.14 ahead of his nearest rival, Namibia's Johannes Nambala, with Australia's Chad Perris taking bronze in 10.83.

It was another big-time scintillating performance from Smyth confirming his status as the fastest Paralympian on the planet.

His winning time may have been outside his own world record, but Smyth was just delighted to come home first and make it a high five of golden moments at the Games.

"It was incredible to win," said the Co Londonderry man.

"I have now competed in three consecutive Paralympic Games and have won five gold medals.

"It is a fairytale for me to come home first. I knew I was a big favourite going into the final. The pressure was on but thankfully I ran a good race.

"Ahead of these Games I was wondering if the fairytale was going to end but it has continued and I am so delighted for myself and my family."

Smyth is not finished. He intends to continue running until the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo when he will aim to turn that high five into six of the best.