Saturday 24 March 2018

Bad day for Irish as Pena exits and steeplechasers fail to make splash

Panama's Rolanda Bell falls in the women's 3000m steeplechase heats from which Kerry O'Flaherty (below left) failed to qualify PA WIRE
Panama's Rolanda Bell falls in the women's 3000m steeplechase heats from which Kerry O'Flaherty (below left) failed to qualify PA WIRE

Cathal Dennehy

There was disappointment all around for the Irish on Day Three of the World Championships in Beijing, with all four competing athletes eliminated in the first round.

Tori Pena was first into action in the Bird's Nest Stadium and US-based pole vaulter made a good start, clearing 4.15 metres at her second attempt and 4.30m on the first try, but the 28-year-old was soon eliminated after failing three times at 4.45m.

"I felt good and thought I had it on the third one," she said. "I should have had 4.45m. It just wasn't there for me.

"This year was definitely a building year for me. Last year was really rough with injuries so I'm happy overall with the progress, but my training didn't really show today.

"My calves cramped up a bit two days ago and it took me a while to get warm and it was too little, too late today. I wanted a bit more.

"There's work to be done and I need to get consistency at the bigger bars at these bigger meets."

Three Irish athletes went to the line for the heats of the women's 3,000m steeplechase. The first of those, Cork's Michelle Finn, produced the highest finish, coming home ninth in 9:55.27.

Finn lost valuable seconds at the water jump with two laps to run, coming to a complete stop and having to climb over the barrier.

"It was cool to run here but I would have liked to have run faster," she said. "The experience of being here will do a lot for me."

Sara Treacy, despite running her third fastest time ever, fell well short of qualification - and her own expectations - finishing 13th in 9:48.24.


"I'm not very happy with my race," she said. "I've so much to improve on. It was solid enough, but I know I'm capable of quicker. It's annoying not to run a season's best.

"I was hoping to run around 9:35, and you have to approach these things as if you're going to make the final, because you're not here for the trip. You're here to perform.

"It was hard. Next year I've got to improve my general fitness and work on my hurdling technique and get into races where you hurdle in a bunch, because that was hard to deal with today."

Kerry O'Flaherty also bowed out after a below-par run, finishing 13th in 10:05.10.

"I'm not happy with the time," she said. "The training camp in Hong Kong was ideal to get used to the heat and humidity and I had been running good times going in, but with three laps to go I started to really overheat and struggled to get the leg turnover.

"I was finding it hard to spot the barriers in the group and was stuttering to be able to see the barrier.

"I'm not going to let today get me down. At the age of 34 a lot of people have written me off, but it has been 10 years of hard work to get here. I've always been knocking on the door with qualifying standards, so this is only the beginning.

"I'm disappointed about the time but I'm delighted to be here. On the road to Rio, it's given me the chance to run against the best in the world."

Irish in action


Ciara Everard, 800m heats, 3:25am

Ben Reynolds, 110m hurdles heats, 4:20am

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport