Athletics: Griffin qualifies for Olympics to end heartache
LEITRIM'S Colin Griffin put the heartache of previous close calls behind him yesterday by qualifying for his first Olympic Games at race walking's World Cup in Russia, where Olive Loughnane also showed excellent form.
Griffin, from Ballinamore, didn't let two early warnings stop him from clocking 3:52:55 as he finished 15th in the marathon 50km event -- a whopping six minutes inside the 3:59 Olympic A standard.
West Waterford's three-time Olympian Jamie Costin and Meath's Michael Doyle -- were among 36 athletes in a field of 103 who failed to finish the gruelling race in sweltering temperatures.
Lougnane finished eighth in 1:31:32 in a high-class women's 20km as Russia's Elena's Yashmanova (1:27:38) recorded a rare win.
Mohill's Laura Reynolds, who was hoping to get the Olympic standard (1:33.30) faded badly to finish 35th in 1:37:06.
Waterford schoolgirl Kate Veale, the world youths champion who sits her Leaving Cert in a few weeks, came close to her personal best (46:32) when finishing sixth in the junior 10km in 46:53.
Kerry's Emma Prendeville was 45th in the same race, while Luke Hickey and James Treanor finished 54th and 59th respectively in the junior men's 10km.
Elsewhere, Ferrybanks' Mairead Murphy, who is on scholarship in Kansas, continued her record-breaking form by setting a senior heptathlon record at the local 'Big 12' meeting.
She racked up 5,399 points by running 13.88 for 100m hurdles, clearing 1.63m in high jump and adding a 11.31 shot putt, a 24.61 200m, a 5.66m long jump, a 31.59m javelin and a 2:18.8 800m.