Congrats for sprint sensation
The north’s Deputy First Minister has led tributes to the world’s fastest paralympian - Derry Flyer Jason Smyth.
Smyth, who is visually impaired, destroyed the field to romp home in a new world record time of 10.46secs in Saturday night’s 100 meters final - one of three athletes from the north to claim gold over the weekend.
The Eglinton sprint sensation said bagging gold was better than his first taste of Paralympic success four years ago.
“This was far better than winning in Beijing. There were 80,000 people and it felt half of them were Irish, ” he said.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness spoke of his pride at Smyth’s performance - his third Paralympic gold medal - and that of swimmer Bethany Firth and Newtownabbey’s 100 metre runner Michael McKillop.
“The efforts of all our competitors are to be really admired – they have overcome great personal difficulties but have at all times shown a great willingness to succeed. We are all very proud of them and we wish all of them every success for the remainder of the Games.”
Derry’s Mayor Kevin Campbell described Smyth as “an outstanding athlete.”
“It was a tremendously proud moment to watch him storm his way to victory and set a new world record.”
Derry Sinn Fein MLA Maeve McLaughlin said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Jason and his coaches. All the months of hard work in the build-up to the games have paid off. I would like to wish Jason all the best for the 200 metres later this week and for all our athletes for the remainder of the games they are an inspiration to us all.”
Smyth now turns his attentions to his 200 metre title defence - and emulating Usain Bolt’s sprint double at the Olympics.
“It would be great to emulate what Bolt did here,” he said.
The 200 metres heats get underway on Thursday.
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Weather for Derry
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 6 C to 9 C
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