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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 21 February, 2019

Double Paralympic champion Jason Smyth gets massive boost ahead of tomorrow's World Championships

The Irish athlete has been reclassified.

Jason Smyth has said he his pleased to be reclassified ahead of World Championships.
Jason Smyth has said he his pleased to be reclassified ahead of World Championships.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

JASON SMYTH HAS been handed a huge boost ahead of the Paralympic Athletics World Championships in Doha as the sport’s governing body has decided to reclassify the Irish athlete.

Smyth, the reigning double Paralympic and world champion, and Paralympic world record holder at 100m & 200m has been reclassified from the T12 class back to the T13 class.

At last year’s European Championships Smyth was moved to the T12 class following a classification review.

However having now been reinstated as a T13 athelete — the class in which he has competed for his entire career — the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have acknowledged that a retest may have been the best course of action in 2014.

A spokesperson from the IPC said:

“When Jason Smyth was classified ahead of the European Championships in 2014 he was found to be on the borderline of the T12 and T13 classes.

“All of the results of the assessment placed him in the T12 class. He was however placed under review status. The review was conducted this week and his results were again borderline but all were in the T13 class so he was moved back.

“Vision impairment tests can be influenced by a number of environmental characteristics. As last year’s result came as a surprise to all concerned, the IPC acknowledges that in retrospect it should have asked Smyth to undergo a second classification at that time.”

Jason Smyth celebrates winning gold 7/9/2012 Jason Smyth celebrates winning gold in 2012. Source: Joseph Johnson/INPHO

Smyth himself said he was pleased with the decision.

“It was a surprise to me last year that I had been moved to a T12 and was difficult to deal with, so I’m pleased that my status as a T13 has been clarified and I won’t need another review until 2019.

“However it is disappointing that I definitely won’t have the chance to defend two of my Paralympic titles in Rio as the T13 200m has been removed from the list of Rio medal events by the IPC.

“That said at least I can put all my energies in the 100m and continue to try and run faster and bridge the gap between Paralympic and able bodied sport.”

Smyth is one of a nine strong Irish team competing in Doha. Discus thrower and World Championship debutant Niamh McCarthy gets the Irish challenge underway on Friday afternoon in her final with Smyth and fellow double Paralympic champion Michael McKillop both in semi-final action later that afternoon.

The full Irish schedule for the ten day long event can be viewed here

Over 1,400 athletes from 100 countries are set to compete in 214 medal events in Doha, which will be held in the 12,000 capacity Suhaim Bin Hamam stadium in the Qatar Sports Club.

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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