Friday 23 March 2018

McBrearty's star on the rise

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

RANGY Donegal teenager Darren McBrearty provided Ireland's only other good news yesterday, qualifying for the 800m final just four days before he celebrates his 20th birthday.

An actuarial student in DCU, the Letterkenny native proved he is equally blessed with race 'smarts', calculating exactly what he would need and pushing the pace hard to clock impressive opening splits of 25:73 and 52:50 while leading the field.

He was only passed at the bell and eventually finished in fourth place in 1:49.74 in a race won by Poland's Marcin Lewandowski in 1:48.81.

None of the other four heats broke the 1:50 mark, so McBrearty bagged the second of the two fastest losers spots in today's semi-finals -- a hugely impressive tactical run on his senior international debut.

"I went out there to give it a go, usually sub 1:50 gets you through these heats," he said.

"I didn't run particularly well but I went out to execute a race-plan and I gave myself a chance."

Earlier in the day, in 400m heats that saw defending champion Sweden's Johann Wismann crash out with just 47:95, Ireland's Brian Gregan (21) made the fatal error of not getting to the 200m break in time.

He got bumped into third by Austria's Clemens Zeller at the bell and was passed by Turkey's Serdar Tamac on the run-in to finish fifth in 47.63, well outside his season best of 46.82.

"I got crossed at 200m, kind of broke my stride and then completely lost it," said the crestfallen Dubliner. Cork's Marian Heffernan (28), a semi-finalist in 2009, suffered even worse heartbreak in the women's 400m.

Her fifth-place time of 54.94 left her tied with Portugal's Patricia Lopes for the last of the fastest losers qualifying spots.

However, she was edged out by just three-thousandths of a second on countback, leaving her to rue her bad opening 100m.

Dan Mulhare (North Laois), who had run 8:01 this year, was equally disappointed in the 3,000m qualifying, finishing sixth in his heat in 8:04.57.

Making his senior debut, he actually ran well tactically and simply learned the harsh way that he's going to need to lower his 1500m times considerably to compete at this level.

Irish Independent

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