Multi sprint champion Jason Smyth last night added another title to his huge Paralympic collection when he took gold with ease over 200 metres at the World Paralympic European Championships in Berlin.
His winning time of 21.44 secs breaks his own European record of 21.84 secs set no less than 13 years ago in Espoo, Finland. Both Jason’s victory and time come as no surprise as the 31-year-old Ebrington man has been in top form in recent weeks both in the 100 and 200 metres.
The race took place in warm humid conditions which were ideal for sprinting. It was clear from the gun that Smyth was determined to retain his record of never having lost a Paralympic race. He quickly closed the gap on chief rival Mateusz Michalski of Poland who was in the adjacent outside lane.
Going into the home straight there was a clear gap between the two which did not close. Jason slowed marginally in the last 20 metres but he still had almost a half second advantage on Michalski who was timed at a seasons best of 21.87 secs. Bronze went to Phillip Handler of Switzerland in 23.45 secs.
Jason’s time is his fastest since the World Championships in London a year ago when Michalski again had to settle for silver. The win augurs well for later in the week when Smyth will line up for the 100 metres.
Despite his incredible success and the holder of two sprint World records, Jason does not take victory for granted and is always attempting to improve.
He has stated; “I’ve seen the sport change a lot. It’s still very important to do well in major Championships. I think to be honest that that I can run faster in the next two years. This year a lot of my strength and foundation work has come back “.
The father of two has also commented on what he sees as insufficient recognition of the sport; “If I had achieved what I have but in another sport I wouldn’t have to look at what job I need to do the minute I finish the sport.”
Note: Article compiled by Athletics NI.