Irish sprinter Orla Comerford ran brilliantly to finish sixth in the T13 100m final on day four of the Para Athletics World Championships in London. Crossing the line in 12.55seconds the nineteen-year old visually impaired athlete was only one hundredth a second off her best ever time set just a few weeks ago. This was Comerford’s World Championship debut and she will be pleased to have improved two positions on the eighth place she secured at the Rio Paralympic Games less than a year ago.
Speaking afterwards the NCAD student who had a brilliant start with the eventual winner Gliebova of Ukraine inside of her said: “I was really delighted with my start. My plan is to continue to knock off fractions of a second yearly towards Tokyo. At age nineteen I have years to hunt down these girls.”
Irish team manager James Nolan added: “12.55 seconds in her first ever World Championship final represents excellent progress since Rio by Orla; a full three tenths of a second faster and two positions higher.”
Fresh from his gold medal winning performance in the 100m last night Jason Smyth was back in action in the heats of the T13 200m this evening comfortably winning the opening heat. The Derry sprinter eased over the line in a new season’s best of 21.89 seconds to set himself up for double gold at these Championships if he goes on to win again tomorrow night.
Afterwards Irish team manager James Nolan said; “Jason ran a great bend and looked totally in control throughout. He has a busy schedule here but is meticulous with his preparations and recovery. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do in the final.”
Earlier on today Meath man Paul Keogan made his World Championship debut in the heats of the T37 200m racing strongly to place third in 25.27 seconds just outside his best ever time, and secure a place in tomorrow night’s final.
Speaking afterwards Keogan said: “I got a good start and ran a solid bend which allowed me to relax in the last thirty metres safe in the knowledge that I had qualified for the final.”
Team manager James Nolan added; “That was an excellent race by Paul running only 0.1 of a second off his personal best and he was easing down. I’m sure he will be targeting sub 25 seconds in the final to try and put himself in the mix.”
Tomorrow Smyth and Keogan are the only Irish in action racing in their respective 200m finals. Smyth will race first chasing an amazing sixth World championship gold medal at 7.55pm, with Keogan contesting his first ever World championship final at 9.15pm.
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 sold making it by far the biggest in the event’s history.
The Irish team is proudly supported by Flogas and Allianz; official partners of Paralympics Ireland.