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Gregan aims for Moscow

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Pictured are, from left, Irish 400m runner and European Under 23 Silver Medalist Brian Gregan, Cliodhna Manning, Marcus Lawlor, Ciara Everard. Picture: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile.

Pictured are, from left, Irish 400m runner and European Under 23 Silver Medalist Brian Gregan, Cliodhna Manning, Marcus Lawlor, Ciara Everard. Picture: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile.

Pictured are, from left, Irish 400m runner and European Under 23 Silver Medalist Brian Gregan, Cliodhna Manning, Marcus Lawlor, Ciara Everard. Picture: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile.

WITH the European Clubs Championships in Santry at the end of June, the World Student Games in July and the World Championships in August, Ireland's top athletes face a busy few months.

Among them is Brian Gregan of Clonliffe, the country's fastest 400m runner.

"I'm off to Belgium this weekend and I'll be away most weekends for the next few months," he says.

His big target is qualification for the World Championships in Moscow.

"The 'A' standard of 45.28 is higher than it was for the London Olympics. It will be tough, but I think I can do it, if I can get the right conditions and a good lane draw."

Gregan, more than most, knows how luck can play its part.

He qualified for the Euroepan Indoor Championships last March as the fastest man in Europe, sailed through both heats and semi-finals, and was then bumped out of the race in the final.

Although the big man from Tallaght is a full-time athlete these days, having finished his studies in DCU, he keeps himself busy. A well written piece on his Facebook page about a visit he made to a school to promote athletics has won him a job with Sky Sports.

"They'll be paying me to go into schools and promote sport."

Gregan is particularly looking forward to the European Clubs Championships.

"The 400m will be stacked – (Kevin) Borlee from Belgium, (Marek) Niit from Estonia, (Daniel) Nemecek from the Czech Republic. If we get a good day, we could see the first sub-44-second 400m on Irish soil."

Ciara Everard of UCD also runs her first major race of the outdoor season this weekend in Sardinia. Like Gregan, she's a full-time athlete after completing a physiotherapy degree.

Earlier this year, she set a new Irish indoor record for 800m of 2:02.54 and finished sixth at the European Indoors in Gothenburg.

"My big target is the World Student Games in Kazan. I've already qualified for the 800m there after running 2:04.3, but I'm also hoping to make the World Championships' 'B' standard of 2:01.50."


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