Irish sprinter Jason Smyth, the fastest Paralympian on the planet has spoken of his shock at hearing that American Tyson Gay, an athlete he has trained alongside for the last four years, has failed a doping test.
Visually impaired Smyth, 25, who won Paralympic 100m and 200m gold at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games has been a fixture in Florida since 2009 training alongside Gay and only returned from his latest stint in America in early June.
Speaking exclusively to paralympic.org, Smyth said he learned of the news about Tyson Gay and Jamaican Asafa Powell online on Sunday (15 July) evening.
Jason Smyth said: “I know as much information as everyone else on the matter and I was absolutely shocked at what I read.
“At the moment I’m trying to not get distracted by it as we’re five days away from a World Championships and so I’m trying to focus on that.
“I was shocked and still am.
“It’s hard to know what’s going on with anybody else however there is only one person in the world who can be certain about anything and that is you, yourself.
“You can only speculate about others but for me personally I am 100 per cent sure about every supplement I take. I think the big thing is you don’t take anything for granted, I would not trust anybody without knowing for sure myself.
“That is why I can be confident in what I’m doing.”
Smyth will fly out to Lyon, France on Thursday (18 July) to compete at the IPC Athletics World Championships with the aim of reclaiming the sprint world titles he was unable to defend two years ago in Christchurch, New Zealand due to injury. He believes he is in good shape to win gold.
“Over the last month or two I feel that I’m in good form,” said Smyth. “My quickest time this year in able bodied competition is 10.36 and a lot of my races have been one day in your face or against you.
“I think I’m in a good place. You want to go into a Championships injury free and healthy and that was my problem at the last World Championships.”
Although Smyth has run 10.36 this year, his personal best in able bodied competition is 10.22 set early last year. His world record in para-athletics is 10.46 set at London 2012 and admits that records are not really on his mind in Lyon.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” admitted Smyth. “I’m trying to focus instead on what I can do as opposed to times.
“At the moment I’m just trying to run quicker than 10.22. If you look too far ahead you miss the now of it.
“Little steps in sprinting are the key. I need to look to get down to 10.20 and then go quicker again and again. That’s how to trying to focus taking one step at a time.”
The 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships opens this Friday (19 July) and will feature over 1,100 athletes from 98 countries. It is the biggest gathering of international athletes since London 2012 and will be streamed live from Saturday morning via www.ParalympicSport.TV