Another Gold for Smyth, and NI & Ulster Multi-Event Championships this weekend
24 August 2018
Sprinting legend Jason Smyth raced further into the record books with another gold medal last night in the World Para European Championships in Berlin.
The 31-year-old former Ebrington man destroyed the field in the T13 100 metres final for visually impaired athletes. He crossed the line for victory in yet another Championship record time of 10.66 secs ahead of rival Mateusz Michalski of Poland (10.99 secs) who must wonder if he will ever get the better of his Irish opponent. Fellow Pole Jakub Nicpon took bronze with 11.33 secs.
Jason was ruthless from the gun when he burst out of the blocks and was well clear at 20 metres. His typical high leg drive combined with a firm arm action worked to perfection as he maintained his pace through the finish to secure his 3rd European double victory over 100 and 200 metres.
There were ominous signs for the opposition in the earlier heats when Smyth broke his own European record from 2005 with new figures of 10.87 secs. Michalski also broke the record in his heat with a time of 10.89 secs. However, the Pole who took silver behind Smyth in the 200 metres must have realised he would struggle as usual in the final against his old adversary.
These Championships and the year generally seem to have reinvigorated Smyth. As well as some impressive times in able bodied races his injury free season has reignited his enthusiasm for the future.
Jason, who is the Northern Ireland able bodied 100 metres record holder (10.22 secs) has been the mainstay of many Irish Paralympic teams. In Berlin they have secured an outstanding 5 gold and two bronze medals. Smyth also has the unique distinction of having represented Ireland in two able bodied European Champs.
Despite his huge total of 18 major awards which include 5 Paralympic and 7 World titles Jason still holds top races in the highest regard;
"It's like every major event, it's very important to do well. That’s all it comes down to and what you're remembered for, what everything the whole year is geared towards".
On reflecting on his career since his first European success in 2005 Smyth commented;
"The London Paralympics was the standout moment when I set 2 world records which still stand. The atmosphere and adrenaline was unbeatable. Later I needed surgery in 2015 and thought that I would never get back to the level I was at. However, I then got 2 golds again in Rio. I find that as I come to the end of my career I feel more motivated to make it last longer and enjoy it as you know the end is coming. I’ve been able to do this sport for 13 years and I fully intend to go to Tokyo in 2020".
Downpatricks David Leavy made a valiant effort for bronze in the T38 1,500 metres for athletes with cerebral palsy. He was in contention with 200 metres left but had to settle for 7th in 4 mins 28.72 secs which is just outside his PB.
There was controversy before the start of the Women's T38 200 metres race which was won in decisive fashion by World record holder Sophie Hann in a Championship record of 26.51 secs. Bangor's Eve Walsh Dann who was also a member of the GB team was 7th in 30.74 secs which was a personal best by 0.60 secs.
This was an outstanding achievement by the 16-year-old schoolgirl who is in fact the British record holder in both the 100 and 200 metres in the T36 category. This is Eve's normal classification where the disability is significantly more severe than in the T38 class.
Eve who suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy was reclassified just before these Championships despite strong objections from British officials. They argued that her recent big performance improvements were simply down to hard training. These appeals have been rejected thus far.
The British camp is hoping that the Berlin organisers will relent to permit Eve to race in the T36 100 metres today although expectations are not high. This all reflects the sometimes arbitrary nature of classification decisions in the sport.
Today will feature NI 's Sally Brown in the T47 100 metres for athletes with elbow amputations.
MPT PLAYS HOST TO NI & ULSTER MULTI-EVENT CHAMPIONSHIPS 2018
A host of Northern Ireland & Ulster junior and senior talent will convene at the home of athletics in Northern Ireland for this weekend’s Northern Ireland & Ulster Multi-Event Championships at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast (Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th August 2018).
The two days of action will cover Pentathlon, Heptathlon, Octathlon and Decathlon.
The multi-event stars will be joined by some well known names in their individual events, including Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) in the 100m hurdles.
In the junior competition, North Down AC’s Troy McConville will be eager to finish what has been an excellent season on a high. Troy recently produced personal best performances in several events in the English Combined Events Championships and will be especially strong in Pole Vault and 1500m as he looks to secure a PB performance.
In the Under 13 age category, City of Derry AC’s Finn O’Neill and East Down AC’s Lauren Madine should feature on the podium.
Meanwhile, in the Under 15 events, Odhran O’Reilly (Annalee AC) and Finlay Stewart (City of Lisburn AC) will be chasing medals in the boy’s section. In the (Under 15) girls’ competition, City of Lisburn AC, North Down AC and East Down AC are well represented; Carmen Runners’ Molly Curran will also be in the mix with athletes from the aforementioned clubs.
North Down AC’s Megan Drummond should be amongst the leading athletes in the Under 17 girls events, while in the boy’s equivalent, City of Lisburn AC’s Sam Duncan will face Tir Chonaill AC pair Eoin Sharkey and Adam Barnes.
A provisional timetable and further information for the event is available HERE