Jason Smyth sets Rio target

Jason Smyth sets Rio target
Jason Smyth. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

World’s fastest Paralympian wants to shatter further records

Derry’s Jason Smyth can’t wait to defend his title of ‘the fastest Paralympian on the planet’ at this year’s Paralympic Games in Rio, which start this Wednesday.

Speaking in a special video interview with the Paralympics Ireland team he spoke of the pressure he is relishing ahead of the Games having run his fastest time in training for three years.

“When you’re the reigning champion, everyone on the starting line is aiming for one thing, to beat you. “I do feel pressure to perform at Rio. Now I have not only proven that I am the fastest Paralympian in my category, but the fastest Paralympian on the planet.

“It feels great to have achieved that and I have worked hard to get to this point. All I can hope for now is to successfully defend my 100m title in Rio.

“Training has been going very well and this year I have ran the quickest time I have in three years, which is a great place to be.

Incredible highs

“Sport is full of ups and downs. As difficult as the downs can be, it is all forgotten and worth the difficult time when the incredible highs come around.”

Paralympics Ireland have launched a ‘More Than Sport’ campaign to raise awareness and funds ahead of Rio 2016. Liam Harbison, the CEO of Paralympics Ireland, described the initiative as “extremely exciting and inspirational”.

In its context Smyth says: “A barrier I continue to face is that my disability is not visible to those around me. While other Paralympic athletes run on blades, need guides, or use a wheelchair, my visual impairment is not obvious to those around me.

World records

“It causes others to take it less seriously and there have been comments like “there isn’t even anything wrong with him”. “This year’s ‘More Than Sport’ campaign has raised awareness for Paralympic sport in Ireland.

“For me, ‘More Than Sport’ means that regardless of how many gold medals I have won, world records I have broken there is something more important, that is the opportunity to inspire and to tell a story that makes someone want to do better or be more.”

Check out the More Than Sport video here:

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