DAY 1: EUROPEAN ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS START WITH A BANG FOR TEAM IRELAND
Israel Olatunde exploded from the starting blocks on day 1 of the European Athletics Championships in Munich this morning (Aug 15th), securing his place in the semi-finals off the 100m with a first-place finish in his heat (3). Olatunde’s 10.19PB performance was the fastest overall time from all 3 heats and improved on his own national u23 record by .05 of a second (10.24).
It moved the UCD sprinter to within .01 seconds of Paul Hession’s Irish senior record of 10.18 which has stood since 2007. Olatunde will return for the semi-final tomorrow evening from 8.05pm.
Fionnuala McCormack secured yet another top 10 at a major championships, finishing in 7th place in the marathon in a time of in 2.29.25.
McCormack went with the leading pack from the gun and settled into a perfect rhythm, crossing halfway alongside twelve other athletes at the front of the race before an injection of pace at the 27km mark saw the leading group reduce to 10.
McCormack was unrelenting in her medal pursuit but another pace injection at the 35km mark would ultimately see the 4-time Olympian drop off those podium places, finishing just under 1 minute off the gold medal in yet another heroic performance.
Aoife Cooke (33rd) and Ann Marie McGlynn (28th) were also in marathon action this morning. Both crossed the halfway point in top 40 positions before McGlynn made her move through the field over the final 15k to cross in 28th place in a time of 2:38:26. Cooke crossed in 33rd in 2:40:37 resulting in a 5th place finish for the women’s marathon team overall.
The medals went the way of Aleksandra Lisowska (POL) 2:28:36, Matea Parlov Kostro (CRO) 2:28:42, and Nienke Brinkman (NED) 2:28:52.
Hugh Armstrong went in the men’s marathon this morning, crossing the finish in 58th in a time of 2:25:27.
Back at the ‘Olympiastadion’, Eric Favors just missed out on progressing to the shot put final, finishing in 15th place in this morning’s qualifying round with the top 12 progressing. Favors improved throw by throw but unfortunately his best and final throw of 19.71m was just short of making it through on this occasion. It has been a superb season for the Raheny Shamrock star who has brought Irish shot putting to a new level this season, claiming a national record of 20.50m record in the process (would have made tonight’s final).
DAY 1 EVENING SESSION
Phil Healy returns for her 4th senior European championships having debuted in Zurich 8 years ago. Healy (6.35pm) and Sharlene Mawdsley (6.53pm) go in the heats of the 400m, with Sophie Becker now turning her focus fully to the 4x400m relay later in the week.
Rhasidat Adeleke advances to Tuesday’s semi-final as one of the top 12 ranked athletes (ranked 6th), as does Chris O’Donnell in the men’s 400m. O’Donnell comes into this week as the top ranked Irish athlete (5th), and the Olympic & World relay finalist has made no secret that another major final is his target.
Rounding out day 1 for team Ireland will be recent 1000m record breaker Luke McCann (7.15pm) who will be joined in the heats of the 1500m by Tokyo Olympian Andrew Coscoran (7.26pm), with both looking to make Thursday’s final.
Team Ireland European Championships
(Times listed in Irish Time)
- 6.35pm Women’s 400m Heat 1: Phil Healy
- 6.53pm Women’s 400m Heat 3: Sharlene Mawdsley,
- 7.15pm Men’s 1500m Heat 1: Luke McCann, Andrew Coscoran
- 7.26pm Men’s 1500m Heat 2 : Andrew Coscoran
*Chris O’Donnell (400m) and Rhasidat Adeleke (400m) advance to Tuesday’s semi-final as a result of top 12 ranking.