Updated: Joanna Mills (Ballymena & Antrim AC) placed eight in the women’s 400m semi-finals on day three of the World Junior Track and Field Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Mills was drawn in the first semi final with only the top two athletes qualifying automatically for the semi finals.
Mills made a good impression coming out of the blocks and looked strong going down the back straight. Mills then started to struggle slightly coming into the finishing straight and eventually finsihed eight in a time of 54.52. The time was just outside her season best performance of 54.17, which she set in yesterday’s heats. Ericka Rucker of America won the race in a personal best time of 52.05
Earlier in the programmeBen Kiely (Ferrybank AC) finished seventh in the men’s 400m hurdles semi-final. Kiely fresh from running a personal best of 52.39 in yesterday’s heats was drawn in lane two. Kiely was up against a tough field with all the other athletes possessing faster personal and season’s best times than him.
Kiely gave his absolute best and attacked the race in similar fashion to his heat. However the class of opposition proved too much and he finished seventh in a time of 53.06. The race was won by Javern Gallimore of Jamaica in a time of 50.46. Kiely will take great encouragement from the fact he came to a major championship and improved on his personal best by such a big margin.
Marcus Lawler (St Laurence O’Toole AC) placed fifth in the heats of the men’s 200m. Lawler was drawn in the tricky outside lane and had the America favourite Tyreek Hill on his inside. Lawler got out well from the blocks and was in contention coming down the finishing straight. Lawler crossed the line in a time of 21.58, however the time was not good enough to progress him through to the semi finals.
Lawler said “I am a bit disappointed with the time, if I had of run a personal best I would of placed much higher. I wasn’t expecting to be in the mix so that was a surprise.” Lawler has had a fantastic 2012 season, setting two Irish Youth Records in the 100m (10.72) and 200m (21.42). It must be noted that Lawler will be young enough to compete in these championships again in two years time.