Belfast Telegraph

Smyth on top again with yet another gold

Sprint king: Jason Smyth of Ireland wins the Men’s 100m
T13 final at the IPC World Para Athletics Championships
Sprint king: Jason Smyth of Ireland wins the Men’s 100m T13 final at the IPC World Para Athletics Championships

By Brian Hill

Jason Smyth proved once again in Dubai last night that he is the undisputed king of sprinting when he secured another 100-metres gold medal in the World Para Athletics Championships.

That makes it eight visits to the top step of the podium and, to make the 32-year-old's achievement even sweeter, his time of 10.54 seconds was also good enough to break his own Championship record of 10.61 set in Lyon back in 2013.

There was some concern following yesterday's heats that the former Ebrington man could face a serious challenge from arch rival Chad Perris, whose qualification time of 10.87 seconds was only 0.04 slower than Smyth's time.

However, in the final any such doubts were dispelled as soon as the gun was fired as he blasted out of his blocks in the quickest reaction time of 0.178 seconds.

From then on the only issue was with regard to the battle for second place. That was won by Perris in a season's best time of 10.86, followed by the Dubai 400 metres winner Johannes Nambala of Namibia (10.98).

"It's been another incredible World Champs," said Smyth.

"Things obviously have been going very well this year, and it's such a strange time of the year, November, to be trying to put up fast times.

"But to come here and put up one of my fastest times of the season is a testament to a lot of people that are around me and supporting me and putting me in a position to get here."

Now based in London, Smyth has always displayed remarkable consistency, and throughout the years his disability relating to a visual problem in one eye has not affected his achievements against many able-bodied athletes.

He still holds the Northern Ireland 100m record for able-bodied athletes of 10.22 and has also numerous NI and Irish titles gained across the years.

He has amassed no fewer than 19 major championship medals dating back to 2005 and has emphatically dismissed any talk of calling it a day.

Indeed, he has already stated his intention to compete at the Tokyo Paralympics if he is fit and healthy and running at his peak.

Sadly, there was no medal for Kerry's Jordan Lee who was competing in the T47 high jump, where he had been ranked second on season's bests.

He could only manage sixth with a jump of 1.87 metres, with gold going to favourite Roderick Townsend-Roberts of the United States with 2.03.

However, Ireland had enjoyed success in the F41 discus event for short stature athletes.

Cork's 25-year-old Niamh McCarthy took bronze with a throw of 29.70 metres. Gold went to Tilli Raoua of Turkey.

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