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National News

Smyth Sets New World Record
Tuesday, 16th September 2008

Ireland's latest Paralympic champion: Jason Smyth who won gold in the T13 100m on Saturday, got his 200m campaign off to a flying start in the Bird's Nest this morning when he took two hundredths of a second off his world record mark to win his heat in 21.81seconds.

Cuba's Luis Manuel Galano was a close second to Smyth in 22.04sec, with Jonathan Ntutu of South Africa third in a time of 22.71sec. In the other heat Alexey Labzin of Russia ran a season's best time of 21.86sec to win; a mere five hundredths of a time off Smyth's mark. The other Cuban in the field Luis Felipe Gutierres ran second in 22.04sec with Vugar Mehdiyev from Azerbaijan third in a time of 22.19sec. The heats were an example in how tight this 200m field is with five of those who qualified for tomorrow night's final within half a second of each other.

Afterwards Smyth's coach Stephen Maguire said: "He was controlled out there he ran a strong bend and a good straight and everything went according to plan. Tomorrow will be a really close run race but were looking forward to it."

John McCarthy

Ireland's only other competitor today was Athens silver medalist John McCarthy in the club throw event. McCarthy was unfortunately not on form today and with a best throw of 19.53m did not make the final, finishing his Beijing campaign in eleventh place overall.

All Irish eyes tomorrow will be focused on three athletes and our footballers; two of the athletes are only beginning their Games tomorrow on the penultimate day of competition. Tralee's Roy Guerin races in the heats of the T53 100m in the morning bidding for a place in the evening final.

Cork's Orla Barry a Paralympic debutant, competes in the F57/58 Discus tomorrow evening in the Bird's Nest, and will be bidding for a place in the final. Paul Cassin's 7-a-side football team will have it all to do if they are to get a result against their Dutch opposition in the 5th/6th place play-off in the morning. Regardless of the result however this Games has been successful for the Irish team as they've already secured an improved placing on their eighth finish in Athens which was their stated target.

It is somewhat fitting that the last event with Irish interest in these Games is the final of the T13 200m where Derry's Jason Smyth; already a gold medalist on Saturday in the 100m, will be bidding for a sensational double. The race gets off at 12.40pm Irish time.

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