Belfast Telegraph

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Eglinton to roll out red carpet for Derry Paralympian Jason Smyth

By Brendan McDaid

The Mayor of Derry has confirmed that celebrations in honour of the city’s Paralympian Jason Smyth will take place in his home village of Eglinton this weekend.

Councillor Kevin Campbell urged people from across the city to come along on Saturday and show their pride in the 25-year-old sprinter, who took home two gold medals at the Games.

Jason returned home on Wednesday after his blistering victories in the 100 and 200 metres at the Games, becoming the fastest Paralympian on earth in the process.

He said this week that he is now determined to build on his success by trying to qualify for the Olympic Games as well as the Paralympics in Rio in 2016.

Jason is expected to arrive in the village at around 3.30pm on Saturday where he will be greeted by the mayor, members of the local City of Derry Spartan Athletics Club and local schoolchildren.

Extending his congratulations to Jason, Mr Campbell said: “Jason Smyth is a truly remarkable athlete and sports personality and a real credit to his family and coach.

“It was very emotional watching him race during the Games and great to see the fantastic reception he received from the spectators.

“He is a great ambassador for sport and to young people across our city by the way he disciplined himself to train so intensively despite his degenerative eye condition,” he added.

Jim Logue and Gerard O’Donnell, from the Eglinton Community Forum, which is organising the homecoming event, said there is great excitement in the village ahead of the homecoming parade.

Mr Logue said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Jason home.

“We have been following his career for years now and feel very proud of him. He is a great ambassador and a fantastic sports person and he deserves a homecoming to remember.”

Mr O’Donnell added: “We hope to see hundreds from across the local area come along to show their support and appreciation.”

The mayor added that he also intends to organise a civic reception in Jason’s honour next week.

Belfast Telegraph

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