Irish hurdler Christine McMahon makes it to semi-finals of European Championships
Published 13/08/2014 | 10:46
Young Irish 400m hurdler Christine McMahon (22) survived the most dramatic race of her life this morning to make the semi-finals of the European Championships at Zurich on her senior international debut.
First there was a false start in her heat - which reduced it to just five athletes - and then, at the penultimate hurdle, the runner to her right fell and almost took her down also.
The Ballymena & Antrim athlete was thrilled to get through, after taking an unexpected automatic semi-final spot with third place in 57:16 seconds, just two tenths off her personal best in very wet conditions.
"I can't say I've had that much drama in a race before!" she laughed.
"You're used to people clattering hurdles or false starts, but not having a false start and someone hit a hurdle and fall into your lane in one race!"
Ukraine's Hanna Ryzhykova had actually just overtaken her for third place when she tripped. She actually broke the hurdle in two as she fell towards McMahon.
"I had to go out of my way (to avoid her), at that stage I was just saying 'stay on your feet and just drive for the line," she explained.
After a disappointing performance at the Commonwealth Games recently it was a brilliant comeback from the young Queens dentistry student who will race in Thursday's semi-finals at 5pm Irish time.