Jason on track to take his gold medal haul to eight in Dubai
Para athletics golden boy Jason Smyth is hot favourite to add to his burgeoning collection of titles when he competes in the heats and final of today's 100 metres T13 event at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.
The 32 year old former Ebrington man will be competing in an event for visually handicapped athletes and will be intent on ensuring that his current unbeaten record at both World and Paralympic level remains intact.
There is every expectation that this aim will be achieved as he is by far the fastest competitor this year from the 19 strong field. Jason has had a consistently good season in which he has competed over 100 metres against able bodied athletes on no less than 17 occasions.
The bulk of his times in these races have been faster than today's opposition with the quickest being 10.51 seconds in August at a meeting in Loughborough. While this is some three months ago, his opposition will have had the same time lapse since the end of the summer season.
Main opposition could come from Chad Perris of Australia who has a best of 10.94 secs this year followed by Salah Khelaifa of Algeria (10.97 secs). Johannes Nambala of Namibia (11.04 secs) could also be in contention. Earlier in Dubai he won the 400 metres in an impressive 48.73 secs.
However, Jason with a full half second advantage is unlikely to be troubled by any of the opposition. He should successfully defend the title he won most recently in London in 2017 to make a grand total of eight world golds, including the 200 metres event which has been discontinued.
Jason is the fastest Paralympian in history which he achieved in London in 2012 with a time of 10.46 secs. He also holds the World Championship best time of 10.61 secs from Lyon in 2013.
Smyth, who is married with a child and living in London is, fairly unique in that despite his sight disability he has been able to compete effectively over the years against able bodied athletes. He currently holds the NI 100 metres record at 10.22 secs.
Also competing today for the Irish team is European bronze high jump medallist Jordan Lee. Jordan set a personal best height this year of 1.95 metres which ranks him second in this T47 event final which has 12 competitors.
Firm favourite for gold is Robert Townsend of the US who has cleared 2.14 metres this year.