Thursday 18 January 2018

Athletics: Cleirigh-Buttner shows true grit to secure place in 800m semi-final

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

BRILLIANT young distance runner Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner proved her versatility and massive promise when she was Ireland's best performer on the first day of the World Junior (U-20) Championships in Barcelona.

The Dubliner, who will not turn 17 until later this month, made it through some dramatic 800m heats. She got bumped badly by South Africa's Thato Makhafola halfway through the first lap, but held her own and passed Slovenia's Marusa Mismas with 80m to go to finish third in 2:05.87 and bag one of the automatic qualifying spots.

The DSD teenager's gutsy run puts her through to today's semi-finals. She has a personal best of 2:04.82 from this summer and she may well need to better that considering that yesterday's fastest heat was won by Britain's Jessica Judd in 2:02.71.

There were high hopes for Clonmel's Sean Tobin and Letterkenny's Ruairi Finnegan in the 1500m heats, but they both discovered just how hot the standard is at the competition where Usain Bolt first came to light as a 15-year-old.

Tobin failed to get into a three-man breakaway that set the early pace in the first heat, but he came through strongly in the final straight to finish sixth in 3:39.11. Finnegan finished 10th in the third heat in 3.53.95, but neither progressed.

Finn Valley's Sarah Collins produced a personal best of 9:26.26 when she was 13th in the 3,000m final which was won in 9:08.

Raheny's Kevin Dooney finished 24th of 34 in the 10,000m final, clocking 31:56 in a race won in 28:16, with African runners taking the first five places.

Irish Independent

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