Heartache as English misses out on medal
DONEGAL'S Mark English produced another world-class performance in the 800m final at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Barcelona yesterday, but it wasn't enough to get a medal.
The Letterkenny teenager produced his second fastest time ever (1:46:02) but was fifth in a blistering race won in a new championship record of 1:43.79 by Botswana's title favourite Nigel Amos.
Puerto Rico's Wesley Vaszuez dashed into the early lead and led them through the first 400 metres in 51.18 seconds, but it was Amos who went on to take gold comfortably after the final dust-up, with two Kenyans taking the minor medals.
English had only made yesterday's final after getting one of the two fastest loser spots from Saturday's semi-finals when he was fourth in 1:47.77 but he certainly saved his best performance of the week for the final and was not far off his lifetime best of 1:45.7.
Sprint hurdler Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC), who was in fourth place at the time, unfortunately clipped the penultimate barrier in her semi-final on Saturday and failed to finish.
But by reaching the semis and running 13.71 this summer the young Limerick star, who is starting studies in Princeton University this autumn, has already proved she is another of Ireland's future senior stars.
Meanwhile, Australian track athlete John Steffensen has threatened to boycott the London Olympics after alleging racism because he was not selected individually to run the 400 metres and was given only a relay spot.
Steffensen, who is of aboriginal descent, accused Athletics Australia of racial vilification and said he would bypass the games in protest. The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist was upset after an individual 400 berth was granted to teenager Steve Solomon, who also achieved an Olympic qualifying time.