Fionnuala Britton did not make it into the final of the women’s Olympic 5,000 metres this morning, but she had good reason to be pleased with her tenth placing in the first of two qualifying heats where she set a personal best time of 15:12.97- an improvement on her existing personal best of 15:15.69.
This was another battling performance by the Kilcoole AC runner who only came under pressure in the final two laps as Olympic 10,000 metres women’s gold medallist, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia led the way home in 14:58.48.
Gelete Burka of Ethiopia won the second qualifying heat in 15:01.44 and it would have taken just a small improvement in time for Fionnuala Britton to have made it into the final as one of the fastest losers. A feature of both qualifying heats was that a total of ten athletes set personal best times.
Britton adopted different tactics in this event than in the women’s 10,000 metres final where she matched strides with the early leaders. This was more conservative performance – a strong and solid run that the Wicklow woman can be proud of.
“I still believe that the way I ran in the 10,000 metres final was the right thing to do, “Britton said.
“Today was a different type of race. Today was a heat and I could sit in there and hope that I could hold on for as long as possible.
"I know that I need to be top five, but I did what I had to do.”