No Joy for Jason in Helsinki

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JASON Smyth’s dream of becoming the first man in history to run in the Olympics and Paralympics in the same year appears to be quickly running away from the Eglinton sprinter.

The City of Derry Spartan failed to make the European Championships 100 metres final on Wednesday evening and now has just one more major championship to make Ireland’s Olympic ‘A’ standard time of 10.18secs before the July 8th deadline.

A 10.47secs fourth place finish in the heats of the European championships in Helsinki on Wednesday morning saw Smyth safely through to the sprint semi-final later that evening.

However, the next outing unfortunately saw the local sprinter bow out, his 10.52secs seventh spot finish not enough to make the eight man final.

Smyth was understandably extremely disappointed with his performance in the semi and he certainly thought he could have run faster than his heat time.

However it was not to be and he will now seek a further race next week prior to lining up in the National championships in Dublin next weekend, July 7th and 8th. That will represent his final opportunity to get the Olympic qualifying time.


“I don’t really know why, but these two races just didn’t come together,” said Smyth. “I started better in the semi-final this evening, but I’d be running 10.2, 10.3, so to go to 10.4, 10.5 is a significant difference, and right now I can’t really put my finger on it.

“It’s a little frustrating, because I know I’ve done all the work, and still believe I am capable of running it, but it just hasn’t gone right. I’m back in Europe now two weeks, so that’s no excuse.

“All I can go do is try again in the last few chances I’ve got, which means trying to race somewhere next week, and then the National Championships, next weekend. I’ll just have to keep racing and keep hoping until that deadline passes.”

The 24 year-old is of course the double Paralympian sprints champion and record holder and regardless of his London Olympic ambitions, he will chase further Paralympian glory in August.