This piece from IPC is by Stuart Weir, on IPC icon Jason Smyth…
Ireland’s Jason Smyth is a legend of Para athletics. Prior to Dubai 2019 he already had six World Championship gold medals in the 100m and 200m and five Paralympic gold medals. In 2019 he won the T13 (visual impairment) 100m with a time of 10.54 bettering his championships record from Lyon 2013 to win again. He said afterwards:
“When I look back to the year and I think about keeping the titles and retaining marks, I just feel satisfaction and also a little bit of relief. Now it’s been more than 20 titles [in major international competitions]. The pressure is an advantage for me. It’s really good to use it because you take parts of the negative first, then the positives”.
Smyth previously made history as the first Paralympian to compete at an open European Championship and has also gained a relay medal in the European Team Championships. He failed in his attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. His PR of 10.22 was 0.04s short of the A time needed to secure a place in the London games. After the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, the Royal Mail decides to offer all British gold medallists to paint a (normally red) mailbox gold in their honor. Smyth competes for Ireland but lives in the (British) Northern Ireland and if you travel to Eglinton in Northern Ireland you can see his mailbox.
Afterwards I asked him about his expectations coming to Dubai and his continuing motivation: “I knew I was in good shape coming into the championship even if November is a strange time of the year to be running. I was confident and thankfully I crossed the line first. November is difficult but that is something that every athlete has to deal with just as mainstream athletics had their world championship in October. But my last competition was 21 August so that’s nearly three months ago which isn’t ideal but we’re all in the same boat
“My fastest times were 2011-12 but then I got injured and my form dropped off a bit and it’s coming back up again. I feel I have more improving to do and that I can run faster and that is one thing which motivates me to continue to be successful. I also recognise that these moments of winning championships and competing for your country are soon going to be over and as an athlete you’ve got to make the most of them and not want them to end”.
There certainly looks to be no sign of his successes coming to an end anytime soon.