Wednesday 13 December 2017

Five more to follow

David Gillick

(Dundrum South Dublin) -- 400m

Age: 27

Coach: Nick Dakin

Personal Best: 44:77 (Madrid 2009)

Season Best: 44.95

Current European ranking: 2nd.

Career Highlights: Sixth in the 2009 World Championships and twice European 400m indoor champion (2005 and 2007).

He may have won two world indoor titles (and been unlucky not to win two more, but for falls), but the former Ballinteer Gaelic footballer made his most significant breakthrough by making a global final in Berlin last year. Based in Loughborough, he has moved up another gear this summer, demonstrated by running two back-to-back sub-45s within five days at the start of July. Only Belgium's Jonathan Borlee (44.77) has ran faster, while Gillick's own training partner Martyn Rooney (44.99) is another big threat.

Derval O'Rourke

(Leevale) -- 100m Hurdles

Age: 29

Coaches: Sean and Terri Cahill

Personal Best: 12.67 (Berlin 2009)

Season Best: 12:96

Current European ranking: 11th.

Career Highlights: Fourth in 2009 World Championships, world indoor champion in 2006, European silver medallist in 2006 and European indoor bronze medallist in 2009. Also won bronze at World University Games in 2005.

It is no exaggeration to say that O'Rourke, is, pound-for-pound, one of the most competitive athletes in the world thanks to her amazing talent for producing season bests and personal bests at the majors. Injury forced her out of the indoors this season and she has, unusually, had falls and niggles all summer, but, as usual, she's coming good at just the right time.

Paul Hession

(Athenry AC) -- 200m

Age: 27

Coach: Stuart Hogg

Personal Best: 20:30 (Dublin 2007)

Season Best: 20.46

Current European ranking: 5th.

Career Highlights: Olympic semi-finalist in 2008 and twice a semi-finalist at World Championships (2009 and 2007). Won silver

and gold in two separate World University Games. He trains largely across the channel with his Scottish coach and is an un-stereotypical sprinter from Athenry who reads historical fiction for fun and has twice put his medical studies on hold.

He must surely now make the big championship final that his talent and long dedication deserves. France's Christophe Lemaitre, the first white man to break 10 seconds, is the gold favourite, but Hession has every chance to be in the medal mix.

Jason Smyth

(City of Derry) -- 100m

Age: 23

Coach: Stephen Maguire

Personal Best: 10.32 (Antrim 2010)

Current European ranking: Outside top 30.

Career Highlights: Won gold at 100m and 200m at the 2008 Paralympics. Smyth makes history by toeing the line in Barcelona as he is the first Paralympian to qualify for the Europeans.

The partially-sighted Derry sprinter has always been a fully integrated runner and is a former Irish schools 100/200m champion and the 2009 Irish senior 100m champion. The fact that he has been training with world No 2 Tyson Gay in Florida this spring has also created a buzz about him.

Thomas Chamney

(Crusaders) -- 800/1500m

Age: 26

Coach: Sean McManus

Personal Bests: 1:45.41 (Oslo, 2009)/3:36.83 (July 2010)

Season best: 800m: 1:46.1

Current European ranking: 10th at 1500m and 15th at 800m.

Career Highlights: Sixth in the 2006 US Collegiate (NCAA) 800m finals (indoor and out) and fifth at the European U-23 Championships in 2005.

Since graduating from Notre Dame, this Clonmel runner has been one of Ireland's few current flag-bearers for Irish middle-distance running, splitting his training between Europe and Limerick. 'Chammer's' outgoing personality often deflects attention from his massive ability and potential. Barcelona should test whether he has yet found the tactical nous to match his massive natural talent.

Cliona Foley

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