Age no issue as Smyth still seeking gold

Jason Smyth. Photo: Getty

Barry Lennon

Paralympic T13 100m champion Jason Smyth insists his age will be no worry when the Tokyo Games eventually come around after the event's postponement.

The Derryman, who turns 34 in July next year, hopes to strike gold again as Olympic and Paralympic chiefs look to different dates in 2021 after the Covid-19 crisis disrupted plans for this year.

"As you get older and closer to the end of your career, it's harder to plan four years ahead, but Paris 2024 is only three years on from Tokyo now," Toyota ambassador Smyth says.

"I am in better shape than I have been in six or seven years; I'm in a good place. Being in a good place increases my longevity so the delay doesn't change anything for me going into next year."

The global pandemic has put sport on hold but the T13 sprinter, who boasts three 100m and two 200m Paralympic gold medals, believes it's no time for rest.

The 32-year-old has borrowed gym equipment for his home near Belfast after his normal training base at the Sport Institute for Northern Ireland was forced to shut.

"You can't put the feet up. What you do this year sets the foundations for next year. In my sport, we're preparing to run fast during the summer," he reflects. "Training wise, I plan to still be able to run fast this summer even though there are no guarantees that there'll be races."

Smyth believes he is luckier than most as he can adapt his own discipline easier to these new constraints. "Take middle-distance runners, they need less gym work and they can run more on the road or grass. In technical events, like the jumps, they rely on equipment, swimmers need a pool."