DERRY JOURNAL Editorial: Jason Smyth and Danny Quigley - two Derry icons and role models

This day last week saw two extraordinary sons of Derry putting the city on the map for all the right reasons.

Sunday, 5th September 2021, 4:53 pm

Half a world away, Jason Smyth racked up an incredible sixth gold medal at the Paralympics in Tokyo, cementing his reputation as one of the world’s greatest athletes.

The incredible feat last Sunday morning saw Jason retain his T13 100m crown and achieve a season best performance into the bargain. Even the best efforts of erstwhile challenger Skander Djamil Athmani from Algeria couldn’t didn’t stop the Eglinton man claim his 21st gold medal at major championships.

On the same morning as Jason was getting on his marks in Japan, back home Danny Quigley was preparing for his 10th consecutive Triathlon in another superhuman endeavour that has gripped the north west over the past few weeks.

Sporting heroes... Paralympian Jason Smyth and IronMan Danny Quigley.

The Derry man was doing so in memory of his late father - another accomplished athlete and son of Derry, Colm Quigley - who passed away from suicide 10 years ago. Danny’s epic challenge to complete 10 IronMan triathlons in ten days saw him swim, cycle and run over 1,400 miles and his success sees him join an elite club of less than 100 individuals across the world to have completed a Deca-IronMan. And he did it to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention , raising funds for two charities working to actively save lives. The people of the city turned out in their droves to cheer him over the finish line and it was an emotional and amazing experience and one all of us who were gathered there won’t forget in a hurry.

The incredible talent, passion and determination our sportsmen and sportswomen and young athletes locally routinely display can sometimes get overlooked. They not only put us on the map but inspire and serve as an example to our younger generations. They also bring us together and provide hope at a time when it is needed most. They are some of the best ambassadors and role models we could ever hope for.