Jason Smyth wins second gold in Lyon

Derryman sets new championship record to claim world double

Thu, Jul 25, 2013, 23:28

What now for Jason Smyth? He can only beat those in front of him – or rather left far behind – but such is his dominance of Paralympics sprinting Smyth might as well be in a class of his own.

Inside the still balmy Rhone Stadium in Lyon yesterday evening Smyth won the T13 100 metres with the now familiar grace and power that has established him as the fastest Paralympics athlete of all time.

It brought him a second gold medal at the IPC World Championships, and the fourth time he’s won a major championship sprint double.

Four days after equalling his own world record in the 200m final, Smyth this time lowered his own championship record – clocking 10.61 seconds.

He was the only man to dip under 11 seconds, as the South African Jonathan Atutu win silver in 11.12, with Bulgarian Radoslav Zlatanov claiming bronze 11.15.

It means the Derry athlete – who suffers from the degenerative visual impairment Stargardt’s disease – has now won back-to-back Paralympics sprint doubles (in London and Beijing) and also two World Championship sprint doubles, having achieved this feat before in 2006.

He missed the last World championships, in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2011.

“I felt very comfortable out there, got out of the blocks well and then just relaxed,” said Smyth, who improved the championship record of 10.72 he set in his semi-final.

‘Times are irrelevant’
“But coming to major championships it is all about winning. The times are irrelevant. I am delighted. I have put a lot of hard work to get here.

“If you look back at the race there are always things you can improve but crossing the line first is all important.”

With that he also matched his room-mate Michael McKillop, who also completing another middle distance double in the most emphatic style possible, winning both the 800m on Sunday with ease, and then the 1,500 metres on Tuesday.

Earlier, in the T51 200m final, John McCarthy finished sixth thanks to a personal best time of 43.62.

Meanwhile, Mark English has got himself a starting berth in this evening’s London Diamond League meeting – also known as the Olympic Anniversary Games – over 800 metres, and with that the chance to nail the A-standard for next month’s World Championships in Moscow.

High-quality opposition
English reached the B-standard with his 1:45.32 at the Morton Games in Santry last week, just shy of the 1:45.30 A-standard, but against high-quality opposition in London tonight, he may well dip under that mark.

However, the Donegal athlete is still likely to be picked for Moscow, and will return to Santry this weekend, dropping down to 400m, given he’s competing in London.

Paul Robinson from St Coca’s AC will thus likely have the national 800m to himself, having also run a new personal best of 1:45.86 at last week’s Morton Games.

But he will need to run quicker than English to jump ahead on the selection criteria, before the July 28th deadline.

Brian Murphy from Crusaders AC will still be the man to beat over 400m, as he goes for three national titles in a row, while Jennifer Carey (Dundrum South Dublin AC) will start as the outstanding favourite to take the women’s 400m title.

Personal best
Carey has a personal best of 52.29, set this season, and will target her first national title.

With Derval O’Rourke withdrawing due to an Achilles injury, Ireland’s latest hurdling sensation Sarah Lavin, from Emerald AC, looks set for her first 100m hurdles title, still fresh from her silver medal at the European Junior Championships in Rieti, Italy, last Saturday, where she set a new national junior record of 13.34.

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