Smyth sets new record as he storms to a 17th gold medal success
Derry athlete leaves most of the field trailing in his wake in T 13 200m final
Jason Smyth: won the T13 200 metres final in a new championship record of 21.44 seconds in Berlin. Photograph: Kieran Galvin/Inpho
Beat that. Still undefeated on the major championship stage, Jason Smyth has won his 17th gold medal in a Para-athletics sprint event – and he’s not done yet.
On day two of the IPC European Championships in Berlin, Smyth won the T13 200 metres final in a new championship record of 21.44 seconds, breaking the record he himself set 13 years ago, the Derry athlete fast leaving the rest of the field chasing the runners-up positions.
It was one of a hat-trick of gold medals for the 10-strong Irish team in Berlin, Orla Barry winning the T57 discus with her first throw, an excellent 28.76 metres, while Greta Streimikyte had earlier got the dream start by winning gold in the T13 1,500m.
Since making his major breakthrough at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, Smyth has already won five Paralympics gold medals and another seven at the World Championships, this latest win his fifth gold at European level, even though he missed the last championships, two years ago.
He will also be back on the track on Thursday looking to add another gold in the T13 100m, the category for visually impaired. Now 31, and a father of two, Smyth shows little signs of slowing down either, nailing the perfect start in Berlin and ensuring no one else got close.
Poland’s Mateusz Michalski held his form to take silver in 21.87, a season best, but he was still a long way behind Smyth, who remains the fastest Paralympics athlete in history, boasting world records of 21.05 for the 200m, and 10.46 for the 100m. At age of eight Smyth was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease, which affects his central vision.
There are hopes for more medals in Berlin too: Streimikyte made that dream start by winning gold in the T13 1,500m, the 22-year-old clocking 4:48.54 with a clear margin of victory, silver there going to Izaskun Ayucar from Spain in 4:59.31.
Barry rounded up the medal haul with her excellent showing in the discus, retaining her title with her first throw of 28.76 enough to land her another gold medal, with Martina Willing from Germany a long way back in silver with her best throw of 20.53.
“These championships are very important for our athletes as they all look to Tokyo 2020 which is coming around very quickly,” said Paralympics Ireland president, John Fulham.
They follow the gold medal won on the final day of the World Para European Swimming Championships in Dublin on Sunday by Ellen Keane, who had already earned a bronze medal on Friday night, but she went two better on Sunday, justifying the hype in the women’s 100m Breaststroke SB8, winning the final by more than five seconds in a time of 1.23.29.
Nicole Turner also won a silver for the host nation, the 16-year-old reaching the final in every one of her six events.