There were scenes of joy in the Olympic Stadium in London on Saturday night as Eglinton sprinter Jason Smyth smashed his own world record to win the gold medal for Ireland in the Men’s 100m T13 final.
The 25 year-old runner, the fastest Paralympian ever, romped to victory in a world beating time of 10.46 seconds.
It was Smyth’s third gold medal as a Paralympian after picking up double gold in the Men’s T13 100m and the Men’s T13 200m respectively in Beijing in 2008.
Smyth reached last night’s final after smashing his own world record in his heat on Friday night with a fantastic time of 10.54 seconds.
Speaking to his fans via the social networking site Twitter, Smyth remained grounded and refused to take anything for granted.
“Thanks everyone for their support,” said Smyth.
“Much appreciated but the job isn’t done yet. See you all at 7.15pm tomorrow to see what is in the tank.”
Smyth is eligible to compete in the T13 sprint category because he has Stargardt disease.
Stargardt disease causes progressive loss of vision, so much so that it can often result in legal blindness.
Having successfully defended his T13 100m crown, Smyth’s focus will now turn to next week’s 200m heats.
Smyth’s double gold in Beijing in 2008 saw some sections of the media compare his achievements in the context of the Paralympics to that of Jamaican sprinter and world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt.
Last month, 26 year-old Bolt, became the first Olympic athlete to ever win back to back gold medals in both 100m and 200m.
Should Smyth make it through his heat next Thursday and win Friday’s final then the comparison with Bolt is sure to be made again.
Earlier this week, Smyth announced that he intends to separate from long-term coach Stephen Maguire.
Strabane man Maguire has been offered the position of Director of Coaching for Scottish Athletics but the 49 year-old admitted that he will be sad to see the partnership with himself and Smyth end.
“This is our last competition after working together for eight years so it will be emotional,” he said.“It’s a nice way to finish though, isn’t it?”
Elsewhere, there was heartbreak for Ballykelly sprinter Sally Brown (pictured, left) who failed in the heats of the T46 200m.
Brown, who represents team Great Britain, finished fourth in her heat but did however manage to equal her season’s fastest time of 27.78 seconds.
See Tuesday’s ‘Journal’ for more indepth coverage.