Friday 23 March 2018

Hession hits top gear to secure spot at Games

Paul Hession bolted to a thrilling fifth successive victory in the 200m at the National Championships in Santry Stadium yesterday and booked his ticket to the London Olympics in the process.

"That feels just fantastic," said the Galway man after he ran a time of 20.51 seconds, which beats the A standard (20.60) for the World Championships and next year's Olympics.

This performance ended weeks of frustration for Hession, who had seemed to be stuck on times around 20.70. "I know I'm in great shape but I've been frustrated by either the weather or having a poor start," he said. "But today I had a good start and felt very strong on the home straight and just gave it everything."

Hession also paid tribute to the part Steven Colvert played. "He really gave me a good race for it and I had to really run that last 50 metres," said Hession, whose previous best this year was 20.65. Colvert was second in 20.84, with Brian Gregan third in a lifetime best 21.09.

Kate Veale walked into new territory with a string of records when retaining her 5,000m walk title. The 17-year-old put on a show, winning in a personal best time of 21:30.18, which smashed the Irish youths, junior and under-23 records.

It was also a full 15 seconds faster than her time when taking the World Youths title in Lille last month.

"Since this was my last race of the season I gave it a bit extra and it's great to finish off with a personal best and will give me a boost for my training in the winter months," said Veale.

Derval O'Rourke was below her best when she clocked 13.28 seconds in the hurdles at the Diamond League meeting in London yesterday. She finished fourth in her heat and failed to make the final.

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