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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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Jason Smyth of Ireland celebrates as he crosses the line to win the Men's 100m T13 Final at the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships.

Jason Smyth

Athletics
7

Smyth, the world’s fastest Paralympian, claimed his seventh world title at London 2017, winning double sprint gold to continue his unbeaten run in world-class Para athletics which now stands at over a decade.

The Irishman had won 100m and 200m T13 gold at both the 2006 and 2013 World Championships, but only raced the 100m at Doha 2015 in order to return home in time for the birth of his daughter. He missed the 2011 World Championships in New Zealand due to injury.

The visually impaired sprinter, who was diagnosed with Stargardt disease at age eight, also has five Paralympic titles to his name.

Smyth won 100m (10.62) and 200m (21.43) gold at Beijing 2008, clocking new world records in both events. At London 2012 he was in blistering form once again, completing a unique double double as he retained his 100m and 200m titles from Beijing.

Described by his peers as one of the most technically gifted sprinters alive, Smyth ran a world record 10.54 in the 100m heats before clocking 10.46 in the final to stand top of the podium at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Although unable to break his own world record in the 200m heats, Smyth did not disappoint in the final running 21.05 to rewrite the history books once again.

Ahead of the 2014 European Championships, Smyth was reclassified and moved from the T13 class to T12. The move did not affect his form however and the Irishman eased to gold in the 100m (10.78) and 200m (21.67) to add two more titles to his already bulging collection.

The 2015 World Championships saw Smyth reclassified back to the T13 class, a move that he took in his stride.

Smyth only had the 100m to look forward to at Latin America’s first Paralympics in 2016. He eased to gold in 10.64 seconds.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Classification
T13, F13

Further personal information

Family
Wife Elise, daughters Evie and Lottie [2018]
Residence
Belfast, NIR
Occupation
Athlete, Motivational Speaker
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up athletics at age 16 at the Derry City Track Club in Northern Ireland.
Why this sport?
He was spotted by a Limavady Grammar School physical education teacher named Liz Maguire, who referred him to athletics coach Stephen Maguire. "It was a school teacher who got me involved in athletics. She said that she thought that I should go to an athletics club, she saw some potential there so I told her I'd go along and see. To be honest, I wasn't too bothered about going, but I didn't really want to say 'no.' I kind of went to just to please her and that was the night I met the guy who coached me all the way up to 2012 [Olympic Games in London], Stephen."
Club / Team
Derry Track Club [DTC]: Northern Ireland
Training Regime
He trains six days a week.

International debut

Year
2006
Competing for
Ireland
Tournament
European Championships
Location
Espoo, FIN

General interest

Nicknames
The Goldsmyth (jasonsmyth.ie, 09 Sep 2016)
Hobbies
Supporting English football team Liverpool. (belfasttelegraph.co.uk, 07 Nov 2016)
Most influential person in career
His family. (paralympic.org, 15 Feb 2015)
Hero / Idol
English footballer Steven Gerrard, English physicist Stephen Hawking. (paralympic.org, 15 Feb 2015)
Injuries
He sustained an injury just below one of his knees in 2013. The injury caused him persistent pain and he eventually underwent surgery in 2015. (paralympic.org, 07 Jun 2019)

A back injury meant he withdrew from the 2011 World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand. (paralympic.org, 27 Jan 2011)

A back injury forced him out of Northern Ireland's team for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. Doctors told him that he needed at least six weeks to recover, so he withdrew because of the disruption to his preparation. He also had ongoing problems with a stress fracture. (Athlete, 20 Dec 2010; rte.ie, 19 Aug 2010)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Pressure and difficulties in a competition is normal. What you have to do is face it with confidence and solve these difficulties one by one." (paralympic.org, 22 Dec 2014)
Awards and honours
In 2009 he received an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. (paralympic.org, 03 Oct 2015)
Other sports
He has represented Ireland in able-bodied athletics. He was part of the 4x100m relay team that was ranked 13th at the 2016 European Championships in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (SportsDeskOnline, 07 Jul 2017)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (bbc.com, 23 Jul 2017)
Impairment
He was diagnosed with Stargardt disease at age eight. The condition causes progressive vision loss. (Facebook page, 24 Dec 2018; european-athletics.org, 23 Jul 2010)
Other information
OTHER ACTIVITIES
In July 2017 he was named a member of the International Paralympic Committee [IPC] athletes advisory group for Para athletics. In January 2018 he was also named a member of Paralympics Ireland's athletes' commission. (paralympics.ie, 29 Jan 2018; paralympic.org, 28 Jul 2017)

CLASSIFICATION CHANGE
His classification was changed from T13 to T12 at the 2014 European Championships in Swansea, Wales. In October 2015 his classification was switched back to the T13 class ahead of the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. "It was a surprise to me 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." (paralympics.ie, 21 Oct 2015)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Athletics World Championships Assen 2006 (Assen, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T13 Heat 1 1
Men's 200 m T13 Final Round 1
Men's 200 m T13 Heat 1 1
Men's 100 m T13 Final Round 1
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 200 m T13 Final Round 1
Men's 200 m T13 Heat 1 1
Men's 100 m T13 Final Round 1
Men's 100 m T13 Heat 2 1
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T13 Heat 1 2012-08-31 1
Men's 100 m T13 Final Round 2012-09-01 1
Men's 200 m T13 Heat 3 2012-09-06 1
Men's 200 m T13 Final Round 2012-09-07 1
IPC Athletics World Championships (Lyon, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 200 m T13 Semifinal 1 2013-07-20 1
Men's 200 m T13 Final 1 2013-07-21 1
Men's 100 m T13 Semifinal 2 2013-07-24 1
Men's 100 m T13 Final 1 2013-07-25 1
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T13 Heat 3 2015-10-23 1
Men's 100 m T13 Final 1 2015-10-24 1
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T13 Heat 1 2016-09-08 1
Men's 100 m T13 Final Round 2016-09-09 1
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T13 Final 1 2017-07-16 1
Men's 100 m T13 Heat 1 2017-07-16 1
Men's 200 m T13 Heat 1 2017-07-17 1
Men's 200 m T13 Final 1 2017-07-18 1