Mark English (Letterkenny AC) stormed into the men’s 800m final on day five of the World Junior Track and Field Championships in Barcelona, Spain. English was drawn in the third semi-final with only the top two assured of an automatic place in the final. There were also two fastest loser spots up for grabs, something that would prove important for English.
The race began with a flourish as all the athletes bolted from the start line, jostling for a good position. The Kenyan athlete Edwin Kiplagat Melly took control of the race leading through the bell in a quick 52.98, English was well placed in second at this point. The Canadian athlete Brandon McBride then exploded into the lead with an exuberant burst of speed. English reframed from panicking and moved smoothly onto the shoulder of the leaders with 200m remaining.
The last 100m of the race became a battle of both mental and physical strength as all the athlete’s fought for a place in the final. English showed incredible grit and determination to cross the line in fourth place (1.47.77). The effort meant that English qualified for the World Junior Championship Final as one of the fastest losers. The race was won by Kiplagat of Kenya in a time of 1.47.08. The final will take place tomorrow at 18.25 Irish time.
Earlier in the programme, there was agony for Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC) in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m hurdles, when she fell at the second last hurdle and failed to finish the race. Lavin drove out of the blocks brilliantly and was motoring over the first couple of barriers.
At this point Lavin was in fourth place and quickly closing in on third. Unfortunately disaster struck as Lavin hit the ninth hurdle and fell to the track, and with that her dreams of reaching the final evaporated.
Lavin although understandable devastated at the result will reflect back on what has been a fantastic season for the talented sprint hurdler. Lavin began 2012 in style by equaling Derval O’Rourke’s national junior record in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.46. She then transferred this form to the outdoor season recording a fast 13.73 to easily win the Aviva All Ireland Schools’ Track and Field Championships in June.