Smyth and McKillop double Gold for Irish at Para Athletics World Championships
Jason Smyth wins sixth World Championship gold
Michael McKillop wins eighth world championship gold
Ireland’s Jason Smyth has sensationally won his sixth World Championship gold medal at the Para Athletics World Championships in London tonight. In front of a huge audience in the Olympic stadium the Derry sprinter was one of the star attractions delivering an electrifying performance to take gold in 10.63seconds.
Speaking afterwards the five time Paralympic champion said: “I knew from the heats I’d run the quickest and it was mine to lose so it was just about going out and executing my race, being patient and thankfully I was able to cross the line first.”
He went on to add; “When you come back to London and you look back at the Games here and consider how incredible it was the reality is they’ve set new standards and a new bar for how world championships should be done. Adding that all into tonight it’s just phenomenal to be here and to do it again.”
“I had my wife and my daughter in the crowd, and all my family and it’s those moments that make it all the more special, to enjoy it with the people that mean the most.”
Michael McKillop made it a double celebration for the Irish in the Olympic stadium when he added the T38 800m title only moments later; remarkably his eighth world championship gold medal. The Antrim athlete delivered an assured performance winning in a season’s best time of 2:00.92.
Speaking afterwards the four-time Paralympic champion said of the race itself: “Myself and my dad came up with tactics for today from Beijing 2008. No one in that race today was in my race in Beijing so they didn’t know what I was going to do. I looked over my right shoulder from 240m to go and did a pick up and the Canadian came right behind me and I just kicked and whenever I do that no one can stay with me and I was able to come down the home straight knowing that I had a gap but I was able to keep driving on for the finish line.”
Referring to winning within minutes of teammate Jason Smyth; “It’s really special to have followed in the footsteps of your best friend. To have that moment to be able to do a lap of honour together after so many years competing in Paralympic sport.”
“Also to be able to do it here with my fiancé and family in the crowd it’s even better. To see her in tears it just shows you that it’s teamwork. It’s not just me on the track – it’s my whole family and all the support team.”
Earlier on today Kildare man Patrick Monahan made his World Championship debut in the heats of the T54 1500m finishing ninth in 3:14.65. As a T53 athlete Monahan is permitted to compete a class ‘up’ in the T54 1500m as there is no 1500m on the programme in his class. T53 racers like Patrick have a higher level of impairment than their T54 counterparts. This morning’s heat will have served as a good introduction to the London track ahead of his T53 800m heat scheduled for Wednesday night.
He spoke afterwards: “I’m not disappointed because I don’t have the speed for the 54. Today is a mixed event whereas I’m focusing on the 800m (T53). If I can make the final there I’ll have done well.”
Tomorrow three more Irish athletes will race. Meath man Paul Keogan will feature in the morning session contesting the heats of T37 200m. In the evening six time World Champion Jason Smyth races again in the heats of the Men’s T13 200m with Dubliner Orla Comerford making her world championship debut in the T13 100m afterwards.
More than 1,100 athletes from 95 countries will compete over the ten days (14th – 23rd July) at the London Olympic Stadium with over 250,000 tickets already sold making it by far the biggest in the event’s history.
Paralympics Ireland are providing a media service for the duration of the Championships with daily press releases and all results live on Twitter. Sportsfile will be syndicating images daily reproduction fee free with further updates on Facebook and Instagram. A comprehensive website with full schedule, results and a live feed is also available at www.paraathleticschampionships.com We also have a dedicated page on our website www.paralympics.ie/competitions Channel 4 in the UK will also screen 30 hours of live coverage over the duration of the Championships.
The Irish team is proudly supported by Flogas and Allianz; official partners of Paralympics Ireland.