Monday 18 December 2017

Cléirigh-Buttner can't lose even if qualification looks beyond her

Stock photo
Stock photo

Cathal Dennehy

Truth be told, Síofra Cléirigh-Buttner stands virtually no chance of surviving the heats of the women's 800m tonight, but regardless of how outclassed or outpaced she is, it's worth remembering how unlikely it was for her to be here.

The 22-year-old earned a place via the IAAF quota dropdown system, which extends invites to the fastest athletes without the qualifying standard in events where extra spaces need to be filled. Cléirigh-Buttner got in via her time of 2:02.11 back in May, but she has been well off that kind of form in recent weeks.

She finished seventh in the European U-23 800m final last month and has not raced since, so this will be a baptism of fire in her senior global championship debut. She won't finish within shouting distance of rivals such as Charlene Lipsey of the US or Eunice Sum of Kenya, and she also won't take one of the three automatic qualifying spots in this race, but with an opportunity like this there's no such thing as failure. It won't be what she wanted, and nor will it be a true representation of her talent, but what it will be is the first of many for the young Dubliner.

Irish in action: Síofra Cléirigh-Buttner, women's 800m heats, 8:01pm

Irish Independent

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