Jason Smyth chasing a sixth Paralympic Games gold medal at Tokyo 2020
EGLINTON sprinter Jason Smyth will chase a sixth gold medal at his fourth Paralympic Games after his selection for the Tokyo 2020 this week.
Smyth, who made his Paralympic debut in Beijing in 2008, is hopeful of a fourth goal in the T13 100m sprint event.
He's ruled the world in that category for the past 15 years and as a veteran of the Paralympics, the 34 year-old isn't feeling any pressure as he travels out to Tokyo with the 29 strong Paralympics Ireland Athletics team on Thursday.
Smyth will be expected to medal once again after his success at Beijing, London and Rio but he insists he will make sure and enjoy the experience first and foremost.
"There's always a pressure associated with that in any situation really that you're going in with everybody's expectation of you winning," he said.
"Obviously in that situation you have nothing to gain because you can't do any better than winning but you've got everything to lose.
"But this isn't my first Paralympic Games. It's my fourth so I've been around long enough and experienced enough to learn and know how to deal with it.
"It's all about thinking about myself and the things that I can control and influence and that's my preparation and that's how I execute a race. I know if I get things right, then I'm in a good position and I'll be happy with that."
Michael McKillop from Newtownabbey is also competing at his fourth Games and will be looking to retain his 1500m title having secured gold medals in the event at all three previous Games.
Congratulating Michael and Jason on their selection, Kevin O’Neill, Chief Executive Officer at Disability Sport NI said it was an 'amazing achievement'.
“To be selected for your fourth Paralympic Games is an amazing achievement for both athletes. Michael and Jason have played a huge role in raising the profile of Paralympic sport here in Northern Ireland and are great ambassadors for athletics and the Paralympic movement.
"The team at Disability Sport NI would like to congratulate them on their selection and we look forward to following them on their fourth Paralympic campaign.”
Paralympics Ireland Athletics Team Announced: Orla Comerford – T13; Mary Fitgerald – F40; Jordan Lee – T47; Niamh McCarthy – F41; Michael McKillop – T37; Patrick Monohan – T53; Jason Smyth – T13; Greta Streimikyte – T13;
The Tokyo Paralympics will take place from 24 August to 5 September, having been delayed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.