Hot prospect Finnegan eases into World Youths final
WITH the World Championships in Korea getting under way on August 27, July is a month in which to savour the rising ranks of Ireland's underage talent as they pit themselves against their international peers.
Ciara Mageean caused a sensation by winning silver at the World Junior Championships last summer and the standards are similarly stratospheric at this week's World Youths (U-18) Championships in Lille.
Seven Irish prospects are competing and Ruari Finnegan (Letterkenny), one of an impressive new wave of Donegal distance runners, underlined his talent yesterday by finishing fourth in his heat (in 3:52.60) to qualify for Sunday's 1,500m final.
Finnegan, still only 16, broke the Irish schools intermediate 1,500m record this summer and has a personal best of 3:51.18.
Ferrybank's Megan Kiely clocked 1:03.23 as she finished eighth in the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles; Mullingar's Shane Fitzsimons finished seventh in his heat of the 1,500m in 3:57, while Philippa Rogan (Greystones) cleared 1.67m before bowing out of the high jump.
The World Youths Championships is where Usain Bolt first emerged, but the Jamaicans are not content just to produce sprinters anymore and Fedrick Dacres won their first gold medal in a field event by throwing 67.05m to claim glory in the discus. All five of his throws were better than anything managed by his challengers.
Kate Veale (West Waterford), who finished fourth in last year's Youths Olympics, will race in the 5km walk final today, while Carlow's Marcus Lawler, son of Patricia Amond, who coaches him, will compete in the 200m heats. Clonmel's Evan Lynch contests the 10km walk tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the 125th Clonliffe track and field meeting takes place tonight (7.0) and includes the legendary Morton Mile (8.25).
Elsewhere, three-time Olympic gold medalist Bolt says he will have a new bulked-up physique when he faces European champion Christophe Lemaitre of France in the 200m at the Diamond League meet in Paris tonight.
"I've been working a lot on my back. I've been strengthening my hamstring. I've got a little bit more muscle this year because I've been really putting a lot of emphasis on that," said the Jamaican, who was hampered by injury throughout most of 2010.
"I've set a standard for myself which is really high. People don't understand that with sport comes injury. When you get injured, it's hard to get back. You got to really work hard."
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