Derval O’Rourke (Leevale AC) finished in an agonising fourth place in the women’s 60m hurdles final at the European Indoor Track and Field Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Cork athlete was denied the bronze medal by .01 of a second as she finished fourth in a season’s best time of 7.95.
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In the earlier heats and semi-final rounds O’Rourke had been getting progressively quicker as the likelihood of a medal became a distinct possibility.
The proven championship performer was drawn in lane 2 for the final with Nevin Yanit of Turkey drawn alongside her in lane three. O’Rourke burst from the blocks and was running side by side with the favourite Yanit over the first four flights. Alina Talay (BLR) and Veronica Borsi (ITA) were closing fast as all four athletes dipped for the line. Yanit held on for the victory in a time of 7.89 ahead of Talay and Borsi who both recorded times of 7.94.
Commenting afterwards O’Rourke said “It’s the most disruptive season I’ve had, Only for Sean, Terry and Martina McCarthy I wouldn’t have run here. I got a sinus infection in December and I lost 4 kilo’s in a week, I got an injection in my achilles in November.
I came here and I believed I had a chance to win it. I got a fantastic start, to be honest I didn’t do much wrong in that race, I am just gutted, I only like getting medals I don’t like finishing fourth.
The preparation was the only thing I could change. The shape I’m in I think I can break my Irish outdoor record”
Irish team manager Patsy McGonagle commented “It’s heartbreaking for Derval, she’s been very responsive through the rounds, she ran season best’s all day, she couldn’t give any more.”
Nevertheless it was a superb performance by the Irish record holder O’Rourke who once again demonstrated her awesome championship metal.
Ciara Everard (UCD AC) and Roseanne Galligan (Newbridge AC) were impressive winner’s of their respective heats in the women’s 800m. Everard was drawn in heat two and tracked the Belarusian athlete Marina Arzamasova who led at the 400m point in a time of 63.16.
Everard then showed a fine turn of speed to pass the leader and open a five metre gap on the chasing pack. Everard coasted to an easy victory in a time of 2:04.33 to comfortable qualify for the semi-finals.
Everard said “I wasn’t nervous, the standard is so high in Ireland now that I am well used to these races. I was pretty happy with that, I felt strong throughout the race and I am happy to get the win.”
Roseanne Galligan was drawn in the third and final heat of the women’s 800m and needed to finish in the top three positions in order to guarantee qualification for the semi-finals. Iceland’s Aníta Hinriksdottir through the gauntlet down to the rest of the field by blasting through the first 400m in 59.80. Galligan refused to panic and was running a confident race as the chasing pack began to reel in the long time leader.
Galligan then moved into the lead and strode effortlessly to victory in a time of 2:03.62 to comfortable qualify for the semi- finals.
Commenting afterwards she said “”I feel really good and I’m just taking it one race at a time. My aim was to get through to the semi-final so it’s nice to do it and the track is very nice.”
Both athletes will now go forward to the women’s 800m semi-finals scheduled for 16.30 on Saturday.
Women’s Pole Vault & 1500m
There was no such luck for Tori Pena (Finn Valley AC) in the women’s pole vault. Pena cleared her opening height of 4.16m however she subsequently failed three times at the next height of 4.36m to exit the competition.
Claire Tarplee (Dundrum South Dublin AC) suffered the same faith as she failed to make the final of the women’s 1500m. Tarplee was drawn in the third semi-final and needed to finish in the top two positions in order to qualify for the final. Tarplee ran a brave race and coming into the home straight she was closing quickly on the leaders however it wasn’t to be and she finished fourth in a time of 4:15.16.
Commenting afterwards Tarplee said “I was really nervous today; it was hard to convince myself not to be nervous. I’ll aim for the European Team championships in Dublin and from there look to qualify for the World 1500 meters in Moscow.”
McGonagle summed up the rest of the Irish team performances “It’s been a great day, very positive day, I can’t remember a better day in track championships that I’ve been involved in over the last four. The debutants were marvellous, the two girls in the 800, their attitude was excellent in everything they did. I am looking forward to tomorrow after such a great day today.”
The action in Gothenburg continues Saturday morning when Ireland’s Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) goes in the women’s 3,000m semi finals at 11.25am.
You can follow all the day’s news from Gothenburg and the rest of today’s in our LIVE section here on SportsNewsIreland.