Athletics: Golden girl Proper shines in Santry rain
KELLY PROPER stole the show at the storm-battered Woodies DIY Irish track and field championships at Santry by winning an unprecedented four gold medals plus the Athlete of the Meet title.
The Ferrybank long jumper started competing in pentathlon last March and showed all the benefits of training over longer distances with some beautifully fluid running.
She won three golds at the National Indoor Championships in Athlone this year but surpassed it after securing three more on Saturday (200m, long jump and 4x100m) and then blasting out of the blocks yesterday to hold off Irish record holder Ailis McSweeney over the final 20 metres to win the 100m in 11.77 seconds, despite a downpour.
"I'm training over longer distances like 600m and 800m now with the pentathlon," the delighted 25-year-old said. "I'm not straining at the end of a 200m anymore and I'm loving all the different training and learning new things like hurdles."
Throwers Claire Fitzgerald (Tralee) and Tomas Rauktys (Clonliffe) were the only others to win more than one gold, which put Proper's achievements in perspective, but perhaps the most surprised and delighted winner of the day was new men's 100m champion David Hynes.
The 27-year-old freelance animator from Wexford club Menapians had never before won the blue riband of Irish sprinting and his 10.64, after a brilliant start, left fancied 200m champion Steven Colvert (10.66) and rising Carlow star Marcus Lawlor (10.79) in his wake.
Paul Robinson (St Coca's), a previous winner at 1,500m, was also thrilled to win his first 800m title in 1.48.92.
The conditions precluded him from improving his PB and World Championship B standard (1.48.86) but Mark English's brilliant A standard in London on Friday night (1.44.84) had already ensured that Robinson's B standard would get him to Moscow.
Robinson (22) confessed he was too nervous to watch English's Diamond League heroics, opting instead to watch his cousin Ciaran Kilduff play for Cork City against St Pat's on TV until a friend phoned him with the good news.
English (20) underlined his talent by giving Brian Murphy a serious challenge in the 400m yesterday but Crusaders' defending champion just held him off for a third title in a row, winning in 47.14 to English's 47.27.
English was still buzzing after his sub-1.45 achievement on Friday. "I knew it was there if I got in the right race," he said, revealing that it was Sonia O'Sullivan's husband Nic Bideau who secured him his vital race place in London.
Rose-Anne Galligan, who broke Sonia O'Sullivan's 19-year-old Irish 800m record at the same meeting, finished sixth in yesterday's 400m and revealed that she had only secured her spot in London at the last minute after returning home from two weeks' training in Font Romeu, France.
Ferrybank's Thomas Barr (21), only the second Irishman to ever break 50 seconds this summer (49.78) for the 400m hurdles, equalled that time yesterday but only after a terrific duel down the home straight with Crusaders' star Jason Harvey, who had the consolation of a new 50.13 PB.
Barr's sister Jessie retained her 400m hurdles title in 57.48, where bronze medallist Nessa Millet (St Abban's) ran a new Irish junior record of 59.0. With Derval O'Rourke out injured, Limerick's Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC) cruised to her first senior 100m hurdles title in 13.61.
Kilkenny's Eoin Everard edged out David McCarthy in a thrilling 1,500m finish and, in the field, DSD's Anita Fitzgibbon set the only new senior record, adding two metres to her javelin best (54.92m), while David Donegan's pole vault victory was his 17th national title (indoors and out).