Friday 20 April 2018

Athletics: Gillick and Hession's turn to bounce back

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

KELLY PROPER has already done it in some style and now it's David Gillick and Paul Hession's turn to bounce back from their European Championship disappointments in the third-last Diamond League meeting of the year in Crystal Palace tomorrow.

With Usain Bolt out for the season and Asafa Powell pulling out injured, Tyson Gay's 100m battle with fellow American Walter Dix will be one of the highlights of tonight's session.

But all Irish eyes will be on Gillick and Hession in tomorrow afternoon's 400m (3.48) and 200m (2.24) finals.

Hession is pitted against several of the Englishmen who took a 200m final place ahead of him in Barcelona in a race that includes Wallace Spearmon, Churandy Martina and Britons Christian Malcolm and Marlon Devonish.

And the loaded 400m final is a fascinating battle between the best of Europe and the top men from America and the Caribbean.

The three men who took the European 400m medals ahead of fifth-placed Gillick -- Belgium's Kevin Borlee and Britain's Michael Bingham and Martyn Rooney -- are all in a mix which also includes America's Jeremy Wariner and Jamaica's Ricardo Chambers and Jermaine Gonzales.

Jamaican Powell, whose 100m duel with Gay looked set to be one of the highlights of the Crystal Palace event, is suffering with the same injury that forced him out of the Stockholm meeting last week.

"I am disappointed that I will not be able to run at the London Grand Prix as I love running in front of the Jamaican fans here," Powell said.

"I visited the doctor and he has advised me not to run in order to help the recovery of my injury. I had hoped it would be better but unfortunately this is not so."

One Irish athlete who has already bounced back brilliantly from her Euro heartache is Ferrybank long-jumper Proper. She failed to make a mark in Barcelona, yet last weekend won in Brussels with a new Irish outdoor record of 6.60m (legal wind of 1.0m/s).

That added a whopping 9cm to her old mark from 2008 and confirmed her feeling that she was in great shape in Spain while unable to manage a clean take-off. Proper has actually jumped longer still, having set the Irish indoor record of 6.62cm in Vienna back in January.

Elsewhere, Letterkenny's Mark English and West Waterford walker Katie Veale will be Ireland's sole athletics representatives at the World Youth Olympics in Singapore over the next week.

English is one of the rising underage distance talents in the country and three of the country's greatest -- Sonia O'Sullivan, Marcus O'Sullivan and Frank O'Mara -- are among an attractive line-up of speakers at an upcoming conference to coincide with Galway's first running festival on the weekend of August 28-29.

It coincides with the Galway City Marathon, which will also incorporate the 2010 World 50km Trophy Final. See for details.

Diamond League,

Live, BBC2, 6.0

Irish Independent

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