Wednesday 22 November 2017

What time are Irish athletes competing at the World Championships in Beijing and is it on TV?

Mark English will be the first Irish athlete in action
Mark English will be the first Irish athlete in action

Cathal Dennehy in Beijing

Mark English will be the first of the 16-strong Irish team to take to the track in Beijing as the World Athletics Championships get under way in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The 22-year-old is drawn in heat three of the men's 800m, which will go to the line at 5:06am Irish time, and English will have his work cut out to automatically qualify in the top three; the UCD student is drawn alongside the fastest man in the world this year - Bosnia's Amel Tuka - along with Erik Sowinski of the USA and Morocco's Nader Belhanbel, all of whom have run faster than English this year.

Later in the day, Thomas Barr makes his world championships debut in heat four of the men's 400m hurdles at 11:59am, and the 23-year-old, who is joint-second fastest in his heat this season, looks likely to be among the top four and make it through to Sunday's semi-final.

The Ferrybank athlete, who crashed out in the semi-final at the European Championships in Zurich last year when touted as a medal contender, will be nothing taken for granted when the gun fires on Saturday. “I’m going to be going hell for leather in each race,” he says. “Each day is going to be like a final.”

After their individual campaigns, English and Barr will team up with Brian Gregan and either Richard Morrissey or Brian Murphy for the men’s 4x400m relay next weekend, though it will come as a major surprise if the Irish team manages to reach the final.

Once again, Irish medal hopes rest squarely on the shoulders of Rob Heffernan, who has endured a disappointing couple of years since winning gold at the World Championships in Moscow in 2013. Heffernan dropped out of the European Championships last summer – later finding out he had a double hernia, which has since been operated on – and was disqualified in the ready to put up a stout defence of his title when he takes to the streets for the 50km race walk next Saturday, joined by teammates Alex Wright and Brendan Boyce, both of whom he coaches.

“I feel good,” says Heffernan. “My training has gone well, I’m in a good place mentally and physically, so I’ll hopefully have a good result. Conditions are going to be very tough, but they never bother me.”

Saturday's action will climax with Mo Farah's attempt to defend his world 10,000m title at 1:50pm Irish time. If he is to win his fourth world title, Farah will have to outrun a formidable trio of Kenyans, who have said in recent weeks they plan to work together to draw the sting out of the Briton's renowned finishing speed.

"I think working together would mean that we terrorise the pace and sure it is high to deny Farah the chance to apply his kick," said Geoffrey Kamworor, their leading athlete, last week. "I think with the support of [Bedan] Karoki and [Paul] Tanui, we can terribly beat Farah."

Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin will also get their campaigns under way in Saturday's 100m heats at 1:20pm Irish time. Their head-to-head clash in the 100m final will take place at 2:15pm on Sunday.

Irish in action (All times Irish)

Saturday, August 22

Men’s 800m heats; Mark English, 5:06am

Men’s 400m hurdles heats; Thomas Barr, 11:59am


Sunday, August 23

Men's 20km Race Walk; Alex Wright, 11:30am

Men’s 400m hurdles semi-final; Thomas Barr*, 11:40am

Men’s 800m semi-final, Mark English*, 13:15


Monday 24th August Day 3

Women’s pole vault qualification; Tori Pena (Finn Valley), 2:30am

Women’s 3,000m steeplechase heats; Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle), Sara Treacy (Dunboyne), Michelle Finn (Leevale)*, 2:45am


Tuesday 25th August Day 4

Men’s 400m hurdles final; Thomas Barr*, 13:25

Men’s 800m final, Mark English*, 13:55


Wednesday August 26th Day 5

Women's 800m heats; Ciara Everard (UCD), 3:25am

Men’s 110m hurdles heats; Ben Reynolds (North Down), 4:20am

Women’s pole vault final; Tori Pena*, 12:00pm

Women’s 200m heats; Kelly Proper, 12:15pm

Women’s 3,000m steeplechase final; Kerry O’Flaherty, Michelle Finn, Sara Treacy*, 14:00


Thursday August 27th Day 6

Men's 110m hurdles semi-finals: Ben Reynolds*, 12:05pm

Women’s 200m semi-finals; Kelly Proper*, 12:35pm

Women’s 800m semi-finals, Ciara Everard*, 13:05


Friday August 28th Day 7

Women’s 200m final, Kelly Proper*, 14:00

Men's 110m hurdles final: Ben Reynolds*; 14:20


Saturday August 29th Day 8

Men’s 50km Race Walk; Robert Hefferan (Togher), Brendan Boyce (Letterkenny), Alex Wright (Leevale). 12:30am

Men’s 4x400m relay heats; Ireland: Thomas Barr, Mark English, Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers), Brian Murphy (Crusaders), Timmy Crowe (Clonliffe Harriers), Richard Morrissey (Crusaders). 3:40am

Women’s 800m final; Ciara Everard*; 12:15


Sunday August 30th Day 9

Men’s 4x400m final*; 13:25

*Pending qualification


TV schedule:

Saturday: Live, BBC Two, 12:05am, 11:05am; BBC One, 12:10pm; British Eurosport, 12:30am, 11:15am, Highlights, BBC Two, 5pm

Sunday: Live, BBC Two, 1:30am, 11am; British Eurosport: 12:00am, 11:15am; Highlights, BBC Two, 7pm

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