Updated: Irish Junior Record Holder Mark English (Letterkenny AC) easily qualified for the men’s 800m semi-finals on day four of the World Junior Track & Field Championships in Barcelona, Spain. English won his heat in a time of 1.51.74, after the Ethiopian athlete Fiker Belete was disqualified.
The pace from the gun was pedestrian with the leaders reaching the 200m point in just under 28 seconds. English at this stage was positioned in the middle of the pack; within sight of the leaders. The real racing began at the 600m point when the Ethiopian athlete Belete kicked for home. English showed a great turn of speed propelling himself up to second place, a position he would hold until the finish. As it turned out Belete was disqualified for a lane infringement, which meant English was declared the winner of the heat.
Team mate Karl Griffin (Tir Chonaill AC) was also competing in the men’s 800m; he was drawn in the seventh and final heat. Griffin found himself slightly off the pace as the pack went through the bell in 53 seconds. From there Griffin rallied well and battled hard to get on terms with the other athletes. However the gaps proved too much and Griffin finished seventh in a time of 1.51.98. The race was won by Brandon McBride of Canada in 1.49.77.
Earlier in the programme Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC) finished third in her heat of the 100m hurdles to qualify automatically for the semi-finals. Lavin made a positive start to the race and moved over the barriers with great fluency. The race was won by Michelle Jenneke in a time of 13.52, while Lavin recorded a time of 13.90 for third place. The semi-finals are scheduled for 17.35 Irish time on Saturday 14th of July.
Ireland’s throwers Dempsey McGuigan (Finn Valley AC) and James McCabe (Dunboyne AC) were competing in the men’s hammer throw qualification. Irish Junior Record Holder McGuigan was in group A and opened with a solid 68.33m, he then improved with his final effort with a throw of 69.07m. That mark was good enough for tenth place within his pool.
McCabe was up next in group B and threw a massive personal best of 69.49m in the first round. This was the first time that Mc Cabe had thrown over 69m and for it to come at a major competition, demonstrates his championships metal. This was McCabe’s longest throw of the competition as he finished in tenth place within his pool.
The results meant that McCabe and McGuigan finished 18th and 20th respectively in the overall competition. The competition amongst these two young throwers will surely push them on to greater things over the coming years.