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Page last updated at 20:16 GMT, Wednesday, 28 July 2010 21:16 UK

Paralympian Smyth misses out on place in 100m final

Ireland's Jason Smyth finishes fourth in his 100m semi-final at the European Athletic Championships in Barcelona

By John Haughey
BBC Sport NI
In Barcelona

Two-time Paralympic champion Jason Smyth of Ireland just missed out on a place in the 100 metres final at the European Championships on Wednesday.

Smyth, who is partially sighted and the first Paralympian to compete at these Championships, finished fourth in his semi-final in 10.46.

The race was won by France's Christophe Lemaitre in a slick 10.06 and he went on to win the gold medal.

"I am pleased because I was ranked fifth going into the race," said Smyth.

Smyth actually came in ahead of three athletes with superior personal bests.

After the semi-final Smyth was almost getting more media attention in the mixed zone than French star Lemaitre.

The Frenchman's semi-final time was .05 seconds faster than his winning time later in the evening.

Smyth was a highly creditable 14th fastest of the 24 semi-finalists and his performance will give him confidence for his Commonwealth Games challenge in October.

"I am one of the slowest round here," joked Smyth in the post-race interview mixed zone after his semi-final, after he eventually made his way to the Irish media contingent after being interviewed by TV and radio stations from all over Europe.

"Things have gone well. When you look back at the race, you always think that there are things you could have done better but I have to be happy with my performance.

"It's been a special few days - getting to the semi-finals at my first senior international championships.

"It's definitely something that I can learn a lot from and next year I will hopefully have the World Championships and then the Olympics in London in 2012."

David Gillick
David Gillick after winning his 400 metres heat in Barcelona

Smyth acknowledged that his performance was tinged with a sense of what might have been, after he missed six weeks of racing over the summer because of a hamstring niggle.

"You would like to think that things might have gone a little bit better if I had been fully fit over the summer.

"I would have been doings a lot more races and would have been a bit sharper and maybe had a bit more of a competitive edge."

Earlier, David Gillick had cruised impressively into the 400 metres final with a season's best 44.49 seconds to win his heat ahead of Briton Michael Bingham.

However, Belgium's Jonathan Borlee produced an even more impressive run as he improved his national record to 44.71 in the opening semi-final which keeps him as the fastest European this season.

Borlee finished ahead of France's Leslie Djhone (44.87) while Britain's Martyn Rooney only earning a fastest loser's qualification despite running 45.00.

Another Briton Michael Bingham clocked 44.88 to take second behind Gillick in the second semi-final and those five athletes should fight out the medals.

Olive Loughnane
Olive Loughnane had to withdraw from the 20k walk

Gillick's team-mate Gordon Kennedy exited after finishing last in his semi-final in 46.72.

Joanne Cuddihy missed out in the exceptionally tough qualifying for the women's 400m final as she took fourth in her qualifier in 52.58.

Thomas Chamney and Rory Chesser both failed to progress to the 1500m final.

Chamney had been expected to qualify but lost ground alarmingly in the home straight to finish ninth in his heat in 3:43.60.

There were reports afterwards that Chamney has been suffering from illness recently and he was unavailable for post-race interviews after being taken to the medical centre.

Olive Loughnane led early on in the 20k walk on Wednesday morning but the World Championship silver medallist dropped out after 4k because of a stomach upset.

American-born pole vaulter Tori Pena equalled her Irish record but the mark of 4.15m was 20 centimetres shy of qualification.

Fionnuala Britton had better luck as she qualified for the women's 3000m steeplechase final but Stephanie O'Reilly bowed out of the same event.

Ailis McSweeney progressed to the semi-finals of the women's 100m with an 11.52 fastest loser's qualification while David McCarthy earned a place in the 800m semi-finals thanks to a disqualication of Dutch athlete Robert Lathouwers.

The Dutchman's exit allowed McCarthy to earn a fastest loser's spot with a time of 1:49.53 after Lathouwers had barged the Irishman in a rough and tumble race.

see also
Sprinter Smyth makes semi-finals
27 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Smyth comes through French test
20 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Smyth and Foster in Ireland team
12 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Smyth taking hype in his stride
08 Jul 10 |  Athletics


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