Tuesday 23 January 2018

Athletics: Irish pair achieve Olympic standard

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

TWO Irish athletes qualified for the Olympic 50km Walk next summer in an international in Germany on Saturday, but there was heartbreak for another.

World-class Corkman Robert Heffernan (Togher) came second in 3:49.30, well inside the 3:59 'A' qualifying time for the London Games. But it was not his experienced team-mate and 50km specialist Colin Griffin who joined him but Brendan Boyce (Letterkenny).

Griffin (Ballinamore) was well on track to qualify but got disqualified just two kilometres from the finish and Boyce got the Olympic standard after finishing sixth in a personal best of 3:57.58.

The Donegal walker had achieved the 'B' standard for the World Championships but chose to compete in the 20km Walk at the World University Games instead, where he finished 15th.

Meanwhile, Haile Gebrselassie lost the race against time when Patrick Makau shattered his marathon world record and ended an era of two decades dominated by one of the greatest distance runners of all. With his lungs seizing up and struggling for air after more than 27 kilometres (17 miles) of the Berlin Marathon, Gebrselassie finally quit shortly after kilometre 35.

By then, Makau was more than two minutes ahead on his own and on his way to the Brandenburg Gate and a new world record of 2:03.38.

Irish Independent

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