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Sensational Jason Smyth storms to fifth Paralympic gold medal in Rio

A third straight 100m title for the Irish sprinter.

Ireland's Jason Smyth takes gold in the Men's 100m T13 Final held at The Olympic Stadium during the second day of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
Ireland's Jason Smyth takes gold in the Men's 100m T13 Final held at The Olympic Stadium during the second day of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

– Ryan Bailey reports from the Olympic Stadium, Rio de Janeiro 

IT WAS NEVER really a question of if, but what time, would Jason Smyth clock on the way to a sensational third straight 100m Paralympic gold.

Once he got out of the blocks safely, it was a mere formality for Smyth as he raced through the gears, pulling clear of the rest of the field, to cross the line in a time of 10.64.

A comfortable heat victory last night suggested there was more to come from the 29-year-old and boy, did he deliver.

A fifth gold medal, following 100 and 200m glory in Beijing and London, cements the Eglinton sprinter’s position as one of Ireland’s most decorated athletes and gives the rest of team Ireland a huge boost on just the second day of this Games.

“I was just glad that I was the first person to cross the line. It’s just incredible,” he told RTÉ afterwards.

“This is my third Paralympic Games and my fifth gold medal. It’s a bit like a fairytale. I keep coming to these championships wondering when the fairytale is going to end.”

“I knew the other guys were going to step up so I had to step up. I knew I was capable of a faster time. I have run quicker than these guys and I should be beaten them if I can put things together.

Rio 2016 Paralympic Games - Day 2 Source: Diarmuid Greene/SPORTSFILE

Rio 2016 Paralympic Games - Day 2 Source: Diarmuid Greene/SPORTSFILE

“Thankfully I was the first man across the line.”

It was, however, a shame that organisers had scheduled this final — one of the highlights of the meet — for the morning session with Rio’s Olympic Stadium no more than a third full.

The majority were left disappointed by Smyth’s victory as home favourites Henrique Gustavo Araujo and Kesley Teodoro were left in his wake.

But Irish eyes, including Minister for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan and Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy, were left smiling on another memorable day for Irish athletics.

Smyth was presented with his medal by Minister O’Donovan shortly after.

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