Belfast Telegraph

Paralympic champion Jason Smyth needs sponsors

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

By Frank Brownlow

Jason Smyth is one of our most successful sportsmen – ever.

But the sprinter, from Eglinton, is struggling.

Not on the track. Oh no. This is a man with a personal best for the 100m of 10.22.

That makes him the fastest Paralympian – Smyth is visually impaired – in history.

He is the world record holder at 100m and 200m and won gold in both in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. He did the sprint double again at this summer's World Championships in Lyon.

The only department in which Smyth is actually struggling, is in trying to find sponsorship.

A year on from his stunning triumphs at London's Olympic Stadium, Smyth has had little interest from potential backers.

For a man who has already conquered the Paralympic world and has the Rio Olympics as his next goal, that is a worry.

The 26-year-old requires warm-weather training to have any chance of reaching his potential and gaining the qualification time for Rio 2016. That costs money.

He suffered the heartbreak of missing the main London Olympics by four hundredths of a second.

It's not a feeling he wants to experience again in less than three years time from now.

Smyth is philosophical about his lack of sponsors – quick to stress that he simply concentrates on producing the goods on the track.

But what a crying shame if one of our finest is denied a place at the top table by the lack of sponsorship.

Belfast Telegraph

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