Fionnuala Britton did not make it into the final of the women’s Olympic 5,000 metres this morning but she had good reason to be pleased with her 10th placing in the first of two qualifying heats where she set a personal best time of 15:12.97- an improvement on her existing PB of 15:15.69.
This was another battling performance by the Kilcoole A.C runner who only came under pressure in the final two laps as Olympic 10,000 metres women’s Gold Medalist, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia led the way home in 14:58.48.
Gelete Burka of Ethiopia won the second qualifying hear in 15:01 44 and it would have taken just a small improvement in time for Fionnuala Britton to have made it into the final as one of the fastest losers. A feature of both qualifying heats was that a total of ten athletes set personal best times.
Britton adopted different tactics in this event than in the women’s 10,000 metres final where she matched strides with the early leaders. This was more conservative performance – a strong and solid run that the Wicklow woman can be proud of.
“I still believe that the way I ran in the 10,000 metres final was the right thing to do, “Britton said “Today was a different type of race- today was a heat and I could sit in there and hope that I could hold on for as long as possible. I know that I need to be top five but I did what I had to do.”
Paul Hession’s fifth placing in heat four of the 200 metres qualifying round in 20.69 seconds was not enough to advance him to the semi- final and was outside is season’s best of 20.54 . Hession had a good start in what was a stacked heat that included Yohan Blake of Jamacia who won in 20.38 seconds.
“I had a good start but the middle section is where I seemed to lose it, “ Hession said. “When I ran my 20.54 in Lucerne I was quiet good in the middle section. I finished reasonably well but I was too far back . I would like to have beaten Serhiy Smelyk of the Ukraine who finished a place ahead of me, but it still might not have been enough. I would have got through in some of the other heats, but that is still not quick enough anyway.”
Olympic 100 metres Gold Medallist Usain Bolt won the first 200 metres heat in 20:39- slowing up as he approached the finish line. Heat three was won by Maurice Mitchell of the USA in 20.54 seconds- the same time as Paul Hession’s season’s best.