Smyth pleased with Barcelona showing

Smyth pleased with Barcelona showing

Irish sprint sensation Jason Smyth was pleased with his efforts in Barcelona tonight, despite failing to qualify for the 100m final at the European Athletics Championships.

Smyth timed 10.46 seconds when finishing fourth in a semi-final won by French star Christophe Lemaitre who went on to claim gold in a gripping final, two hours later.

Lemaitre hit the line in 10.11, an impressive winner ahead of a group of four athletes who each clocked 10.18.

Mark Lewis Francis got silver and relegated his British team-mate Dwain Chambers into fifth, while France's Martial Mbandjock battled his way to bronze.

Smyth had already run his own 'final', admitting afterwards that he was content to have made it this far as a mainstream athlete - not forgetting that he made history on Tuesday when becoming the first Paralympian to compete at the European Championships.

"Things have gone very well. I was ranked fifth in the race, and got fourth. Obviously it would have nicer if they had gone a wee bit better and I made the final," he said.

"I wanted to get to the semi-final, I knew that was achievable. And when you get to the semi-final, anything can happen.

"If you have a great day, you just don't know where things could end up. I just wanted to go out there, compete well and beat as many people as I could."

The Derry native would have had to smash his personal best of 10.32 in order to progress through to the final as a fastest loser.

Quicker times will undoubtedly come for the ever-improving 23-year-old, a double Paralympic champion from last year's Games in Beijing.

"Earlier on in the season, I felt 10.20s was on the cards. That didn't happen - conditions weren't the greatest here, and in Championships it can be hard to go quicker - but that keeps you hungry and wanting to improve.

"I'm more than happy. I'll look back and realise that this is a nice stepping stone for the World Championships next year."

With interest in his story growing - he was sought out at the Olympic Stadium by newspapers, radio stations and television crews from all over Europe - Smyth's story will grow and grow.

All the way, he hopes, to the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012.

Meanwhile, Irish duo Rory Chesser and Thomas Chamney failed to qualify tonight for the final of the 1500m.

Chesser was tenth in his heat, clocking 3 minutes, 44.01 seconds, while the more experienced Chamney, the reigning national 800m champion, came home in ninth in the second qualifying race (3:43.60) - nearly seven seconds slower than his personal best.

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