On what was a very successful day for the Irish team at the European Indoor Championships, the highlight was a bronze medal for Leevale’s Derval O’Rourke.
O’Rourke had looked impressive in qualifying and was second fastest going into the final. In what was a very tight race she came home in a time of 7.97 with the final being won by Eline Berings of Belgium in a time of 7.92. This was O’Rourke’s fastest since 2006 when she was World Indoor Champion.
There were some other excellent performances by Irish athletes during the first day of competition. Kelly Proper qualified for the final of the Long Jump and smashed the Irish record in the process. Proper had a jump of 6.59, beating her previous record of 6.44 to secure her place in tomorrow’s Long Jump Final.
David McCarthy qualified for tomorrow’s semi final of the 800m as one of the fastest runners up. McCarthy came home in a time of 1.49.59, which was enough to make it though. Roisin McGettigan also made the final of the 1,500m as fastest runner up. McGettigan finished in a time of 4.12.25 and will line up in tomorrow’s final.
There was disappointment for reigning 400m European champion David Gillick after he fell during his semi final today. Gillick looked comfortable throughout the race but on the final bend tangled with Romanian Ioan Vieru and fell on to the track. The Irish team appealed the incident but it was not upheld, meaning Gillick will not get a chance to defend his title in tomorrow’s final.
Ireland’s first pole vaulter Zoe Brown also missed out on making the final of her event. The Ballymena athlete registered 4.05m, but this was not enough to gain her a place in the final tomorrow.
Ireland’s 400m runners Marian Andrews and Bronagh Furlong both qualified for the semi final today, but unfortunately were unable to make the final. Andrews and Furlong set personal bests in their heats, but missed out on a final spot as they finished fourth and fifth respectively in their semi final.
Tomorrow will see more of Ireland’s stars in action. First up are Niamh Whelan and Ailis McSweeney in the 60m heats, followed by Deirdre Ryan in the qualification for the High Jump. Then Paul Hession takes to the track in the first round of the 60m and he is followed by Mary Cullen and Deirdre Byrne in the first round of the 3000m.
David McCarthy will race in the semi final of the 800m, while Kelly Proper will be looking to break her Irish record again as she competes in the Long Jump Final. Last up for the Irish on Day Two is Roisin McGettigan, who will run in the Final of the 1500m.
European Indoor Track and Field Championships – Turin, Italy
Irish Competitors – Day Two – Irish Time in Brackets**
DAY 2 – 60M Round 1 (8.30) 9.30 – Niamh Whelan / Ailis McSweeney
DAY 2 – High Jump Quals (8.35) 9.35 – Deirdre Ryan
DAY 2 – 60M Round 1 (9.00) 10.00 – Paul Hession
DAY 2 – 3000M Round 1 (10.05) 11.05 – Deirdre Byrne / Mary Cullen
DAY 2 – 800M Semi-Final (15.30) 16.30 – David McCarthy
DAY 2 – Long Jump Final (15.40) 16.40 – Kelly Proper
DAY 2 – 60M Semi-final (15.45) 16.45 – Niamh Whelan / Ailis McSweeney
DAY 2 – 60M Semi-final (16.00) 17.00 – Paul Hession
DAY 2 – 1500M Final (16.35) 17.35 – Roisin McGettigan