Thursday 21 November 2019

Irish trio off the pace on painful debuts

Ireland's Ben Reynolds in action at the World Championships in Beijing
Ireland's Ben Reynolds in action at the World Championships in Beijing

Cathal Dennehy

Three Irish athletes had a baptism of fire on their World Championship debuts yesterday, with Ciara Everard, Ben Reynolds and Kelly Proper all finding themselves well off the pace in their heats.

Everard was first into action in Beijing, the UCD student finishing seventh and last in her 800m heat in 2:03.98.

"I got it wrong," she said. "I think it was just tactics. I couldn't position myself well for the first lap."

Having struggled with illness after racing in the World University Games last month, Everard secured qualification for Beijing via the IAAF quota system, but never looked likely to qualify when the pace ratcheted up over the final 200m yesterday morning.

"I feel like my form was good and there was no reason I shouldn't have been there in the burn-up," she said.

"I still think I've a big run in me, but I obviously didn't get it right today. It's just about picking it up again now."

Reynolds was pleased to even make it to the start line for the heats of the 110m hurdles, the North Down athlete having barely trained on the fortnight before the championships due to injury, but he was eliminated after finishing seventh in 13.72.

"It was crap preparation the last 10 days," he said. "I was just resting for the last eight days. I got an old hip problem that takes about 10 days to settle while I was on the training camp in Hong Kong.

"I'm pleased I raced, because days ago it was a no-go. I'll have to reflect now and in future make sure I'm absolutely fresh at peak season. The rest of my body was ready, but one aspect wasn't.

Proper made a good start in the 200m, powering around the turn and turning for home with the leaders, she faded over the second 100m and was eliminated after finishing sixth in 23.28.

"It was okay," said the Ferrybank athlete. "I was hoping it would be much faster. I had a couple of really intense weeks under my belt and I felt good, so a personal best and national record was my goal. I was hoping for 23-low, and it just didn't happen.

"I performed on par with what I've been doing all season so it's not a disaster. It's disappointing but next year is a really big year; I'll come out with all guns blazing."

With no Irish in action until Rob Heffernan, Alex Wright and Brendan Boyce compete in the 50K race walk at 12:30am on Saturday, the attention will now shift to the international action, as Justin Gatlin aims to get revenge on Usain Bolt in the 200m final, which takes place at 1:55pm Irish time today.

Irish Independent

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