Olympic heartbreak for Jason Smyth

20 June 2012; Sprinter Jason Smyth is aiming to become the first man to compete in the Olympics and Paralympics in the same year. Smyth, who won double gold in the 100 and 200m at the Beijing Paralympics, is one of the country's main medal hopes in the London Paralympics which takes place in August. The Derry born sprinter believes has five more chances to cut 0.04 of his best time and make the Olympic A standard of 10.18. Yesterday he was unveiled as the first brand ambassador for Topaz. A short film about Jason will be available at www.topaz.ie at the weekend. Morton Stadium, Santry, Dublin. Picture credit: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***
20 June 2012; Sprinter Jason Smyth is aiming to become the first man to compete in the Olympics and Paralympics in the same year. Smyth, who won double gold in the 100 and 200m at the Beijing Paralympics, is one of the country's main medal hopes in the London Paralympics which takes place in August. The Derry born sprinter believes has five more chances to cut 0.04 of his best time and make the Olympic A standard of 10.18. Yesterday he was unveiled as the first brand ambassador for Topaz. A short film about Jason will be available at www.topaz.ie at the weekend. Morton Stadium, Santry, Dublin. Picture credit: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

Jason Smyth’s battle to secure the London Olympics 100m A Standard of 10.18secs ended in disappointment on the wet Santry track on Sunday as the local sprint star narrowly lost his National Senior 100m title to Irish record holder Paul Hession.

Jason’s 10.38 seconds Santry clocking left him only one hundreth of a second behind the new 100m champion and came at the end of a busy two days which saw him also race twice in Loughborough on Saturday in a vain last ditch attempt to book his Olympic place.

After returning home from the European championships in Helsinki the previous weekend, the Spartan trained on the Sports Complex track last week before flying over to Loughborough for Saturday’s track meet, where he posted disappointing 10.47secs and 10.50secs clockings.

Double Disappointment

Back to Dublin for Sunday’s championships and it was an improved performance but the damp conditions and perhaps the pressure, saw his 10.40 secs. semi-final win and then the 10.38 secs. silver medal run in the final.

Double disappointment then for the Eglinton Flyer but he must now focus on the Paralympian Games, also in London immediately after the Olympics, and get ready to defend his 100m/200m titles with perhaps an eye on improving his own Paralympian world records.

More on Jason’s build up to his next big challenge in the weeks ahead but congratulations on his national silver medal - one of eight championship medals brought home by North west athletes from Dublin.

Finn Valley’s Tori Pena successfully defended her women’s Pole Vault title and Letterkenny’s Maria McCambridge was an impressive 5,000m winner.

Tirconaill AC’s Mary McLoone retained her Triple Jump crown and also claimed Long Jump silver but another defending champion Aaron Crawford of Strabane Track Club, could only return with Javelin silver.

The in-form Ciaran Doherty of Letterkenny also took 3K Steeplechase silver and there were bronze medals from the Spartans’ Greg Roberts in the 10,000m and in the 1,500m for Darren McBrearty of Letterkenny.

Greg Roberts made a welcome return to track racing and ran 31m 26s for championship bronze behind Brian Maher and Gary O’Hanlan, with fellow Spartan Declan Reed not far behind in fourth with 31m 44s. Good strong runs from the Derry lads who have the Berlin Marathon in late September in their sights.

Letterkenny’s Darren McBrearty grabbed bronze in a hotly contested 1,500m final, posting 3m, 54.93secs as the top six finished with less than a second between first and sixth.

Indeed the Spartans’ Connor Bradley ran 3m, 55.41secs for sixth place and was so close to the medals. The provincial 1,500m champion will be disappointed but will dust himself down and move on to the next assignment, possibly the Brian Downing Memorial meeting in Antrim on Wednesday, July 18th next.

Other local performances from Santry included Padjo Hamilton’s 1m 55.45s ninth place finish in the 800m final; Mary Devlin’s fifth place Long Jump finish and in the 5,000m, a 15m 06secs person best for JP Williamson for eighth and Emmet McGinty’s 15m 22s.

Logan, Liburn lead in

Strabane, Cranford

On the weekend road race scene, Noel Logan won Saturday’s Strabane 10K with a 33m 49secs clocking and on Friday night in Cranford, fellow Spartan Catherine Lilburn ran a swift 27m 03s for the women’s race honours at the 4.2 miler.

Logan stepped away from the track to take in the popular Strabane race and was rewarded with a morale boosting victory ahead of Paul Barbour on 33m 57secs with Pius McIntyre third on 34m 01secs.

Bill Duncan ran 38m 11secs for the M45 win, Christy McMonagle took the M65 category with 42m 05secs and it was good to see Gavin Srevenson back in race action and just missing a top 10 finish, eleventh with 37m 42secs.

Monaghan Phoenix athlete Donna Evans ran 39m 14s to lift the women’s prize.

In Cranford Catherine Lilburn was a runaway women’s race winner with her 27 mins. 03 secs. as her good performances continue and Letterkenny’s Ivan Toner was the men’s race winner in 22m 49secs.

The local road race action continues tonight (Tuesday) in St Johnston with the annual 5k. A 7.30 p.m. start should see a decent entry line-up.