Top bracket: Smyth happy to be among sprinting elite

Derry’s gold medallist has espoused the advantages of training in the US before defending his 200 metre title this week.

Image: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP/Press Association Images

DERRY’S JASON SMYTH underlined his status as the fastest Paralympian on the planet on Saturday night with a stunning performance in the T13 100m final in London.

Smyth smashed the world record by finishing in 10.46s, almost a second clear of his nearest challenger at the Olympic Stadium.

The 25-year-old put much of his success down to his relocation to Florida to enjoy the same training facilities as (second fastest man in history) Tyson Gay.

“Tyson’s been fantastic towards me out in the states. I’ve learnt a lot from him and constantly he’s been trying to help me – nearly as if he’s been taking me under his wing this past few years to help me succeed.” Smyth told Newstalk Breakfast in an interview broadcast this morning.

Gay has previously hailed Smyth as one of the most technically gifted sprinters in the business. The Derry man shrugs off the praise as technique is an area every sprinter is out to improve, but mentions: “It’s a great honour and privilege to be rated, technically, so highly by one of the best sprinters there’s ever been.”

Smyth set the new landmark time despite being well out in front of his competitors – a factor which normally blunts the competitive edge needed for a sprinter to keep pounding his legs into the track. However, Smyth says the secret is simply concentrating on his own actions as he settles into the blocks.

“You’re going into the race making sure you get your part right: that’s executing it from the start.

“The start sets up the rest, so if you get the start right it puts you in a good position on down the track. You really have to keep focus on what you want to do and hope that when you’re crossing the line that you’re the first man across.”

Aside from a good start though, Smyth – who will bid to emulate Usain Bolt’s ‘double double’ by retaining his 200m title on Friday – claims the day-to-day business of elite training is what lays the foundation for global success.

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“‘I’ve been able to be in that environment continually with the best athletes in the world so daily I’m being pushed to my limit and I’m constantly training at the highest level.

“When you’re constantly in that mindset and environment, all you can do is push on yourself. It’s shown in the last couple of years that I’ve gotten quicker and quicker.

“In all aspects of life, to try and improve you’ve got to go where the experts and athletes are. In sprinting that’s north America and the Caribbean.”

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Sean Farrell

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