Jason Smyth sets new NI 100m record in Florida
Jason Smyth improved his own Northern Ireland 100m record as he came third in a world-class field at Saturday's NTC Classic meeting in Florida.
The Londonderry athlete clocked 10.22 which cut 0.1secs off the existing mark he set at last year's NI Championships.
Jamaican Steve Mullings took victory in 9.89 ahead of American Travis Padgett in 9.99.
Smyth's time is a B standard for the London 2012 Olympics and this year's World Championships in South Korea.
His new Northern Ireland mark is also only 0.04secs outside the A standard for both events.
Both Mullings and Padgett are part of Lance Brauman's training group which Smyth, 23, has been working with in Florida over the winter and spring.
Saturday's race took place at the National Training Center track in Clermont which is Smyth's Florida training base.
"Conditions were absolutely perfect. He had a [maximum permissible] two metres per second wind and the temperature was 95 degrees," Smyth's coach Stephen Maguire told BBC Sport.
"It's the perfect start to the season for Jason after the injury problems which he had at the end of last season."
Smyth, who is visually impaired, was forced out of both the Commonwealth Games in October and the World Paralympic Games in New Zealand in January by a back injury.
The double Beijing Paralympic champion ran a new NI record of 10.32 in June last year and a wind-assisted 10.27 a few weeks later but his build-up to the European Championships was then affected by injury.
The Derry man was unable to race for a six-week period before the Europeans.
The injury had to be carefully managed in order to make the start line in Barcelona, where he went on to reach the 100m semi-finals.
Smyth became the first ever Paralympic athlete to compete at a European Championships and he aims to run at both the Olympics and Paralympics in London next year.
The 23-year-old plans to have a further outing in Florida next weekend and hopes to run in New York a week later.