Athletics: Colvert and Chesser pull out the stops to qualify for Europeans
TRIPS to Belgium and Sweden have paid off for two Irish athletes who have secured the qualifying times for the upcoming European Championships just before the final deadline.
UCD sprinter Steven Colvert, who took two silver medals at the recent Irish Championships, set personal bests at 100m (10.62) and 200m (20.90) at the Belgian Championships and his 200m time was well inside the Euro qualifying mark of 21.00.
Irish steeplechase champion Rory Chesser of Ennis Track Club also met the 1500m qualifying standard for Barcelona (3:41.00) by running a new 3:40.08 PB in Karlstad.
Derval O'Rourke finally broke 13 seconds for the first time this season when she clocked 12.96 in finishing third in the 100m hurdles at the Euro Permit meeting in Lignano, Italy, last night.
This ended a couple of weeks of frustration for the Cork woman when circumstances, including the weather and a fall, saw her best time standing at 13.09. Now at least she can go to European Championships next week knowing that she is coming into top form.
Last night's race was won by Tiffany Ofili of the USA in 12.85, with Vonette Dixon of Jamaica third in 12.92.
At the same meeting, Thomas Chamney finished fourth in the 800m in 1:46.82, while David McCarthy ran a personal best of 1:46.82 in finishing fifth.
Caster Semenya secured her second 800m win on Finnish soil in four days yesterday by coming home first in the Savo Games in Lapinlahti.
The South African was given the all-clear by the International Association of Athletics Federations last week to resume her career, having not competed in 11 months following the furore over her gender.
And, having won her comeback race in the Lappeenranta Games on Thursday, she was also untroubled here, cruising home in two minutes 2.41 seconds. Semenya now heads home to South Africa to continue training and is expected to return to race in Europe next month.
At home, John Coghlan (Metro St Brigids) won a dramatic Lifestyle Sports-adidas Irish Runner 5 Mile title in the Phoenix Park.
Coghlan just pipped Kilkenny's Brian Maher in a photo-finish, with both runners given a time of 23:49, five seconds ahead of Clonliffe's Seriu Ciobanu.
Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny) took the women's title in 27 minutes flat, eight seconds clear of DSD's Breffni Twohig, with Raheny's Barbara Sanchez third in 27:33.