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Smyth sprints to euros gold

IRISH PARALYMPIC sprinter Jason Smyth has won T12 100m gold at the Paralympic Athletics European Championships in Swansea in a time of 10.78seconds.

The reigning double Paralympic and World champion and World record holder at T13 100m and 200m won in emphatic fashion being the only athlete to break 11 seconds.

Russian Artem Loginov was second in 11.16 seconds with Martinez of Spain claiming bronze in 11.19seconds, and Thomas Ulbricht of Germany fourth in 11.51seconds.

Only four athletes qualify for the final of the T12 100m as all are entitled to run with a guide runner. None did in this case.

Speaking after the win, Smyth said: "I'm really delighted to secure the medal for Ireland. I felt like I executed my race well so I'm looking forward to the 200m."

Reclassified

Having been reclassified at the weekend from the T13 class to the T12 class, this was Smyth's debut as T12 sprinter and he didn't take long to make his mark.

Despite finishing 0.28 seconds outside his season's best, into a -0.8 headwind it was an impressive performance from the Derry man.

The track is situated at the Swansea University International Sports Village, which is right on the Welsh coast.

Wheelchair racer John McCarthy; a three-time Paralympian, put in a huge performance in the final of the T51 400m to finish fourth in 1:37.36 and narrowly miss out on a bronze medal by 0.26 of a second.

Based on times going into the final, McCarthy was ranked sixth of the six finalists but the Cork man raced superbly to be in contention all the way to the line.

The race was won in 1:35.97 by Toni Piispanen of Finland, with Peter Genyn taking silver in 1:36.07 and Italian Alvise de Vidi claiming bronze in 1:37.10 just ahead of Ireland's McCarthy.

In the final of the T37 100m, 
17-year old Heather Jameson finished eighth in the in time of 15.64seconds.

In a top-class final won by reigning world champion, world and European record holder Mandy Francois-Elie of France in 13.92, Dubliner Jameson, who is considerably younger than all but one of the other finalists, will have gained further valuable experience at this level.

Reflecting on the day, Irish team manager and Head of Paralympic Athletics James Nolan said: "It's been such a positive start to the Championships.

"Jason was expected to win and achieved his goal.

"Heather and John both threw statistics out the window and performed well above expectations; Heather making the final and John just edged for bronze."

Champion

Three Allianz-sponsored Team Ireland athletes are in action today.

Ireland's other reigning double Paralympic and world champion, Michael McKillop, will be the first of the Irish in action in the final of the T38 800m at 12.22pm.

McKillop, who has only recently recovered from a serious foot injury, will be eager to demonstrate a return to fitness.

John McCarthy will also be in action again in the final of the T51 100m soon afterwards at 12.40pm, and in his first major championships, Dubliner Andrew Flynn will be chasing a lifetime best time in the final of the T13 5000m at 6.35pm.

The Irish team is proudly sponsored by Allianz Ireland; an official sponsor of Paralympics Ireland.


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