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Published: 18:30 | 5/9/16

Smyth to miss Rio opening ceremony

Jason Smyth says he will sit out the Paralympics opening ceremony on Wednesday to prepare for his first race in Rio on Thursday.

Four-time Paralympic gold medallist Smyth competes in the T13 100m heats on Thursday evening, barely 24 hours after the opening ceremony.

"As incredible as the opening ceremony is, there's a lot of standing around and it wouldn't be the ideal preparation for me, with my first race taking pace the next day," the Ulsterman said.

The Team Ireland 100m sprinter, who has 10% vision after losing his sight at the age of eight with the genetic condition Stargardt's Diseas, expects Brazil's Gustavo Henrique Araujo to be among his main rivals for T13 gold.

The Brazilian finished second behind Smyth at last year's IPC World Championships in Doha, albeit 0.28 seconds off the pace

"He's fairly new on the scene so I wouldn't be surprised if he kicks on a bit, especially as he has a home Games," he said.

Smyth hoped to compete at the Olympics in Rio but his 100m season's best of 10.39, was 0.23 seconds outside the qualifying mark. However, The Derryman says he is happy to be finally injury-free after three years struggling with a knee injury.

"Things have been going well. Being injury-free gives you the platform to get some good work done and I'm happy and optimistic that things are going to go well in Rio."

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