Friday 19 January 2018

Smyth eyes second gold after cruising through 200m heats

Jason Smyth eased over the line in a new season’s best of 21.89 seconds. Photo by Luc Percival/Sportsfile
Jason Smyth eased over the line in a new season’s best of 21.89 seconds. Photo by Luc Percival/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Fresh from his gold medal-winning performance in the 100m on Sunday Jason Smyth was back in action in the T13 200m last night, comfortably winning the opening heat on day four of the Para Athletics World Championships in London.

The Derry sprinter eased over the line in a new season's best of 21.89 seconds to set himself up for double gold at these championships if he goes on to win again tonight.

Afterwards Irish team manager James Nolan said: "Jason ran a great bend and looked totally in control throughout. He has a busy schedule here but is meticulous with his preparations and recovery. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do in the final."

Smyth said: "I got a good start and ran a strong bend to put my competitors under pressure. The plan worked well and I was in a position then to just cruise home."

Meanwhile, Orla Comerford ran brilliantly to finish sixth in the T13 100m final. Crossing the line in 12.55 seconds, the 19-year-old visually-impaired athlete was only one hundredth a second off her best ever time set just a few weeks ago. This was Comerford's World Championship debut and she will be pleased to have improved two positions on the eighth place she secured at the Rio Paralympic Games.

Speaking afterwards the NCAD student, who had a brilliant start with the eventual winner Gliebova of Ukraine inside of her, said: "I was really delighted with my start. My plan is to continue to knock off fractions of a second yearly towards Tokyo. At age nineteen I have years to hunt down these girls."

Nolan was very impressed with the performance: "To finish in 12.55 seconds in her first ever World Championship final represents excellent progress since Rio by Orla; a full three tenths of a second faster and two positions higher," he said.

Earlier on yesterday Meath's Paul Keogan made his World Championship debut in the heats of the T37 200m, racing strongly to place third in 25.27 seconds just outside his best ever time, and secure a place in tomorrow night's final.

Speaking afterwards Keogan said: "I got a good start and ran a solid bend which allowed me to relax in the last thirty metres safe in the knowledge that I had qualified for the final."

Nolan added: "That was an excellent race by Paul running only 0.1 of a second off his personal best and he was easing down."

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