Derry sprinter Jason Smyth was named Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year at the IN! Glamour Magazine Awards on Saturday past.
The Paralympian double gold medalist was named alongside Michael McKillop as joint winner at the ceremony in Belfast’s City Hall. It was the fourth annual IN! Magazine awards.
Speaking to the ‘Journal:’ Jason said: “It was nice to win the award. Michael and I were sat beside each other and we discussed the shortlist. We both agreed that anyone could win it. That said it was nice to hear my name called out at all.”
Jason added; “The event ceremony was an opportunity to look back at the season. It does take you back because they play a few videos of your races. It is very enjoyable from that aspect.”
Though he is more often found wearing tracksuits and running gear, Jason said the opportunity to don a tuxedo and have a glamourous night out provided a “nice change of pace”.
“I am more a fan of the casual stuff,” he admitted. “This time of year often gives you a chance to go to a few black tie events before the new season starts.”
Jason said he is now trying to sort out his preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“I’m kept busy planning the new season. It really is a case of back to the reality of training after the highs of the previous few months.”
Jason left for training camp in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday. Speaking before the trip, he said: “It is just a matter of heading over there and getting back into it.”
It has been Jason’s most successful season ever He both the 100m and 200m T13 titles - in world record times - at the Paralympics in London.
That success saw Smyth compared to Usain Bolt in the press due to the emphatic nature of his victories. The remarkable double gold meant he was tagged with the title of the world’s fastest Paralympian.
Royal Mail recently announced that the Eglinton postbox, which was painted gold in recognition of Smyth’s success, is to remain that colour.
“It was an honour to have it commemorated in such a way. If I’m honest, I hadn’t thought about whether it would be kept that colour forever but it is nice that it will remain gold.”
For Jason the priority now must be to try and add to his tally of gold medals come Rio 2016.