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english battles way into final

MARK ENGLISH qualified for tomorrow evening's 800m final at the European Track and Field Championships in Zurich.

The Donegal man finished fourth in his semi-final, outside the three automatic qualification spots, but his time of 1:46.23 was faster than the winning time in the other semi to ensure his progress as a fastest loser.

English bookended the day's action on a high note for the Irish contingent - one that began well also with the display of Christine McMahon in the 400m hurdles.


However, in between Richard Morrissey and Brian Gregan failed to progress beyond last night's 400m semi-finals.

Gregan ran a season's best (45.81) when finishing sixth while Morrissey was eighth (46.64).

Thomas Barr also suffered disappointment when he failed to qualify for the 400m hurdles final after finishing third in his semi-final.

The Dunmore East athlete failed to guarantee himself one of the automatic qualification berths and his time (49.30) was slower than the third and fourth placed finishers in the concluding semi-final.

Earlier in the day Amy Foster also bowed out of the Zurich championships as she finished eighth in her 100m semi-final (11.79).

McMahon had started the day brightly when progressing through her heat - finishing third in the 400m hurdles.

In a dramatic race she finished third (57.16), just shy of her personal best, to progress to today's semi-final (5.10pm).

"I'm delighted with that performance. The conditions weren't ideal; a false start in the race and the girl beside me fell into the lane," said McMahon.

"I ran just 2/10ths off my personal best, I'm happy with that, solid enough and I'll focus on the semi-final. I just go back eat and rest and get my mind set."

England's Mo Farah added another gold medal to his collection, having become European champion over 10,000 metres just six weeks after collapsing in his bathroom and being airlifted to hospital.

Farah has endured a wretched season until now, with a disappointing showing at the London Marathon compounded by an illness which forced him to miss the Commonwealth Games.