Joanna Mills (Ballymena & Antrim AC) ran a season’s best time of 54.17 to qualify for the semi finals of the women’s 400m on day two of the World Junior Track and Field championships in Barcelona.. Mills was drawn in heat one, with the top three athletes qualifying automatically for the semi finals.
Mills ran a controlled race, moving out of the blocks smoothly and powering down the back straight. Mills closed strongly and finished fourth, just outside the top three automatic qualifying positions. However her time of 54.17 was good enough to qualify her as a fastest loser for the semi-finals. The race was won impressively by world number one Ashley Spencer of America in 52.58. The semi finals are scheduled for Thursday, 12th of July at 19.35 Irish time.
Ben Kiely (Ferrybank AC) joined Mills in the semi finals as he ran a personal best of 52.39 in the men’s 400m hurdles heats. Kiely blasted from the blocks, throwing the gauntlet down to the rest of the field. Kiely struggled slightly in the finishing straight but battled courageously off the last hurdle to finish fourth in his heat. His time of 52.39 was good enough to progress through to the semi finals which are scheduled for tomorrow at 11.20am Irish time.
Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (D.S.D AC) placed sixth in the semi-finals of the women’s 800m in a time of 2.06.70. The pace from the gun was ferocious with the leaders going through the bell in 60.15. Buttner at this point was back in fifth position. The real burn up began at 200m when the race winner Anastasiya Tkachuk of the Ukraine kicked for home. Buttner battled all the way to the line eventually finishing sixth, outside the qualifying positions.
Reigning World Youth Champion Kate Veale (West Waterford AC) finished 18th in the women’s 10,000m walk in a personal best time of 48.50.20. There were 36 competitors on the start line for the 25 lap race; the conditions were brutal with temperatures reading 30 degrees in the Olympic stadium. Veale struggled to cope with the surges made by the leading Russian athletes and battled hard to stay in touch. The heat proved too much for Veale as she eventually finished down the field in 18th.
Veale’s teammate Emma Prendiville (Farranfore Maine Valley AC) finished 31st in a personal best of 52:41.51. The race was won by Ekaterina Medvedeva of Russia in 45:41.74.