Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers AC) finished sixth in the men’s 400m final on day three of the European Track and Field Championships in a time of 46.04. Gregan ran strongly out of the blocks and refused to panic when the eventual winner Pavel Maslek of Czech Republic, started to challenge him.
Coming into the home straight Gregan looked certain of at least the bronze medal when agony struck. Gregan visible cramped and was forced to slow down with the pain to his groin. Gregan limped across the line in sixth place, inches away from a bronze medal.
Gregan said “I am devastated with that, I felt the groin go around 80m into the race. I pushed on for the next 300m before succumbing. If it hadn’t been for the injury I know I would have got a medal. I had no injury worries coming into the race, so it is just so unlucky.”
Irelands other finalist on the night, Jessie Barr (Ferrybank AC) ran a brave race to finish eight in the women’s 400m hurdles final. Barr got out of the blocks well and looked controlled going down the back straight. Barr who was experimenting with a new stride pattern suffered slightly coming into the home straight and crossed the line in 56.83. This is Barr’s first time to represent Ireland at a senior championships and the Waterford native can be very proud of running a personal best in the semi-finals and making her first European Track and Field Senior Final.
Barr said “I am gutted with that, I expected to a do a lot better. I would have been happy with the time (56.83) last year. But now I have moved on and I expect myself to do much better and be in the 55’s. I am really disappointed but I am sure when I reflect back in a few days I will be proud of what I have achieved here”
Paul Hession (Athenry AC) dramatically dashed into the men’s 200m final. Hession initially finished fifth in his semi-final and out of the qualifying positions. However the Greek athlete Likourgos Tsakonas was subsequently disqualified and Hession was upgraded to the final. Hession’s time of 20.84 was slower than the time he ran earlier in the heats (20.75), none the less it was good enough for a place in the European Final.
Hession said “That was shocking; I didn’t run well at all. I cannot emphasis enough how difficult it is to run the bends. I feel sorry for the Greek athlete as he is a good championships runner. My time (20.84) will only get me lane one or two in the final, hopefully I get lane two. If anything these championships have given me good experience for London, getting to run three rounds in 36 hours”
Earlier in the day, Steven Colvert (Crusaders AC) was disqualified from the heats of the men’s 200m; Colvert finished the race in a time of 21.24. The time would have been good enough to qualify him for the semi finals as a fastest loser but unfortunately Colvert was disqualified for a lane infringement. This follows on from his team mate Joanne Cuddihy (Kilkenny City Harriers AC) similar disqualification earlier in the week. Many of the athletes taking part in the championships have expressed their concern over the tightness of the bends at the track in the old Olympic Stadium.
Colvert said “That was a shocking race; I need to look back at the tape with my coach and see what went wrong. I would usually start catching people in the home straight. The bends were really tight and hard to navigate” Colvert’s training partner Paul Hession said afterwards “I know Steven is in much better shape than that. He is in at least 20.4 shape, the guy has been flying in training.”
Amy Foster (City of Lisburn) was also in action in the women’s 200m heats. Foster finished sixth in a time of 24.04. This was unfortunately not good enough to qualify her for the semi-finals. Foster’s heat was particularly tough, it was won in a very quick time of 22.77 by Ukranian Mariya Ryemyen