Tuesday 25 July 2017

Smyth below his best but should still have enough

Assuming he advances, Smyth will line up for the final at 3.09pm tomorrow to try run himself into the history books with gold at a third consecutive Paralympics. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Assuming he advances, Smyth will line up for the final at 3.09pm tomorrow to try run himself into the history books with gold at a third consecutive Paralympics. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Cathal Dennehy

Jason Smyth knows no matter how much he wants it to be, Rio won't quite be like London.

The 2012 Paralympics marked a sort of high-water mark for the Games as a movement, the stands packed to capacity as the Derry native once again broadcast his talent to the world by defending his sprint titles with ease.

This time, there is likely to be far fewer people in the stands at the athletics stadium in Engenhao, and due to a decision to drop the 200m from the T13 category - a move initiated to allow for an increase in women's events - double gold is no longer on the cards.

As a result, Smyth has trained his sights on a sole target, the T13 100m, and the 29-year-old begins his campaign in the qualifying heats later tonight, settling into his blocks at 11.19pm Irish time.

Assuming he advances, Smyth will line up for the final at 3.09pm tomorrow to try run himself into the history books with gold at a third consecutive Paralympics.

His form this year has been consistent, if a fraction below his brilliant best. Back in 2012, Smyth entered the Games with a season's best of 10.24, but this time around his fastest is 10.39.

All the same, there's a good reason he is often dubbed the Usain Bolt of the Paralympics. If he is fit, if he is healthy, no one can get close to him in this realm.

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