The world’s fastest Paralympian - Derry flyer Jason Smyth - gets his bid to retain the double golds won in Beijing underway tonight.
Visually impaired Smyth, who narrowly missed out on qualification for the Olympics, takes to the track at around 9:30pm in round one of the 100 metre sprint - with the fnal scheduled for tomorrow night.
Later this week, the Irish athlete’s defence of the 200 metre gold begins.
The Eglinton sprinter was one of the stars of the 2008 games, winning gold in 100m and 200m and bagging two world records in the process.
“To be there in that environment to me is priceless,” he says.
“As an athlete, you put in so much hard work, day in day out, and it’s all about the Paralympic Games coming around every four years. Those moments of standing on the podium listening to the anthem are the moments I’ll never forget.”
Derry MP Mark Durkan urged the city to get behind Smyth.
“He is truly an inspirational young man who has not let his disability stand in the way of reaching for his dreams.”
The sprinter has just been unveiled as fuel company Topaz’s first Brand Ambassador . The company has shot a short film telling Jason’s story - which you can watch now on derryjournal.com
Also going for glory is Ballykelly teenage sprinter Sally Brown.
The 17-year-old - who was born with left arm Dysmelia, a rare birth defect which means her arm didn’t develop below the elbow - is also aiming for a sprint double.
Her goal is to reach the finals of the 100m and 200m and “then anything can happen on the day”.
And sports fans in the city can watch how things go for the Derry Flyer and Ballykelly teenager Sally live on the city centre big screen.
The Waterloo Place viewing area will be set out until 6pm each day - extended to 9pm and 10pm on the evenings when Irish Paralympic athletes are competing.