Swede success as Power and Flanagan claim shock medals at Europeans
Nadia Power and Eilish Flanagan produced the performances of their lives to win medals for the Irish at the European U-23 Championships in Gavle, Sweden, over the weekend.
Power claimed bronze in the women's 800m, the 21-year-old digging deep to repel Slovakia's Gabriela Gajanova and cross the line in 2:06.68.
However, ecstasy turned to agony for Power when she was disqualified for obstruction, the Irishwoman using her arms to protect her running line when winner Jemma Reekie cut in across her entering the penultimate bend.
As the medal ceremony went ahead in Power's absence, the Irish team lodged an appeal which proved successful, the Templeogue athlete then reinstated to bronze.
"I was over the moon after the race and someone called me over to say I was disqualified," said Power. "I'm really grateful to the staff of Athletics Ireland who fought for it."
Power is one of the most improved Irish athletes this year, having lowered her 800m best to 2:03.44:
"I wouldn't have predicted this a few years ago. I've changed from just wanting to qualify for international competitions to wanting to medal and it feels amazing to have achieved it."
Minutes later Eilish Flanagan was on track for the women's 3000m steeplechase, for which the Carmen Runners athlete held an outside medal chance. With Danish star Anna Moller taking gold in a championship record of 9:27.31, Flanagan fought through the field to take silver in a lifetime best of 9:51.72.
"I can't get over it, it's surreal," said the 21-year-old.
"To think five years ago I'd be here with a silver medal was never in my picture. I would have been over the moon with the top five, but I thought why not do my country proud by getting a medal, so I dug in deep."
There was nearly a third medal yesterday when the women's 4x100m team of Molly Scott, Ciara Neville, Sharlene Mawdsley and Gina Akpe-Moses finished fourth in 44.32, a race won by Germany in 43.45.
"We're devastated not to get a medal, but I think it was a great run by all the team," said Scott.
John Fitzsimons finished sixth in the men's 800m in 1:49.75.
"I was in third with 200 to go and I didn't hold off the French guy at that point," he said.
"If you want to win a medal you can't make any mistakes. But that's okay - I'll learn from it."
Brian Fay was 11th in the 3000m steeplechase final in 8:56.22, while Stephanie Cotter finished 12th in the women's 1500m final.
David Kenny finished ninth in the men's 20km race walk in 1:25:43, a lifetime best.