Jason Smyth claimed his sixth Paralympic Games gold medal on Sunday. The 34-year-old from Derry won the T13 100m by 0.01 in a dramatic photo finish with Algeria's Skander Djamil Athmani.
"I wasn't 100 per cent," Smyth told RTÉ when asked if he knew he'd won as he crossed the line.
"I thought I was slightly ahead.
"It was an extremely close race. We saw the Algerian run quick in the heats. He's run quicker than me this year. I knew I was up against it.
"This is the stage I compete in. I've been here and done it. The Algerian, this is his first time on this stage. It was about me trying to put him under pressure. I certainly felt like I did that over the first half of the race. I tightened up a bit at the end."
29 August 2021; Jason Smyth of Ireland, right, on his way to winning the Men's T13 100 metre final ahead of second place Skander Djamil Athmani of Algeria at the Olympic Stadium on day five during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Smyth said that just three months ago, he was wondering if he'd be able to compete in Tokyo.
"I reflect back on the year I've had," he said.
"It's probably one of the toughest years in quite a while with injuries. Nine months ago, I was wondering if this was me done. Three months ago, I was wondering if I'd be at the Games, and be able to be at this level. We got things right, and they came together at the right time.
"You see me as the athlete standing out there competing, but it's the people around you, the team, that makes what just happened. Without them, I wouldn't be standing here.
"My wife and two daughters, I haven't seen them since July 10th. A huge amount of work and sacrifice goes in by so many people."
"We got things right and they came together at the right time"
Jason Smyth reacts to his gold medal-winning performance after a dramatic finale#rtesport #paralympics #paraathletics
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