Gold medalist Jason Smyth confident he can double-up again
Antrim’s Michael McKillop beats his own world record in Lyon to underpin his dominance in the 800m
Jason Smyth of Ireland wins the men’s 200m T13 final during day two of the IPC Athletics World Championshipsin Lyon, France. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Jason Smyth is confident he can complete yet another career double at the IPC Athletics World Championships onThursday after claiming the first of what he hopes will be two golds in Lyon this afternoon.
The Paralympic 100m and 200m champion added a first world title to his resumé and equalled his own world record when his blistering run in the T13 200m final was rounded down by 0.01 to 21.05 seconds by track officials .
It was the second Irish gold of the day, coming shortly after Michael McKillop grabbed Ireland’s first when he did manage to beat his own record in the T37 800m.
Antrim’s McKillop ran 1:57.17, five hundredths of a second quicker than his previous best. He was briefly shadowed by Australia’s Brad Scott but left him and the rest of the field behind at the bell and strode clear to claim gold with ease.
Injury ruled Smyth out of the event in Christchurch two years ago, so there was ground to make up in France and he did it like few others can, thundering out of the blocks to hunt down Nambala Johaness outside him before accelerating out of the bend to finish nearly a full second ahead of the Namibian. South Africa’s Jonathan Ntutu was third.
“Obviously missing out on New Zealand makes me more keen to come here and perform and, thankfully, I’ve been able to do it in the 200 and hopefully I’ll be able to do it in the middle of the week in the 100,” Smyth told Channel 4 afterwards.
“Maybe they should have rounded it down another hundredth,” he joked. “It’s nice to get close to world records, or oven beat them, but at the end of the day it’s about coming here and winning and going home with a medal.”
Such is Smyth’s dominance - he’s a double-double Olympic medalist - he travels in expectation rather than hope at this stage, and Thursday will likely bring another opportunity for the Derryman to medal, barring disaster in Wednesday 100m semi-finals.
“I’m confident I can (do the double). Training has been going well, I knew coming into this that it was very much a possibility and it was about going out and executing the races. We’re halfway there now and hopefully I can produce the goods in the 100.”
Defending champion Catherine O’Neill from Wexford finished fifth in the Women’s F51-53 discus, despite throwing a season’s best with her fourth attempt (5.51m).
“I came here to win a medal and did my very best,” she said. “It was my best performance since London and I was happy with my throwing. Unfortunately it left me outside the medals on this occasion.
Ireland’s youngest team member Heather Jameson ran a season’s best in the semi-finals of the T37 women’s 200m, but it left her outside the qualifying places for the final. She will be back in action in the Long Jump and 100m later in the week.
Orla Barry from Cork finished eighth in the women’s F55-57 Shot Put.