Monday 18 December 2017

World class Veale walks tall in Lille


Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

IRELAND'S newest athletics star announced herself on the global stage yesterday as teenage Waterford race-walker Kate Veale won gold at the World Youth (U-18) Athletics Championships in Lille.

The 17-year-old schoolgirl from Dungarvan has been smashing national records throughout her teens and finished fourth at the World Youth Olympics last autumn.

Veale dominated the final two kilometres of the 5km race and smashed her old Irish record (22:36) by almost a minute with a winning time of 21:45.59.

"It feels really nice to be the world champion," she said. "My family was here to support me -- they were even louder than the Chinese and Russian fans!"

The West Waterford AC star showed phenomenal power and technique to cross the line 15 seconds clear.

"Over the last 10 minutes, all of the others were desperately trying to hang on to her, but they were all getting cards (warnings for technical errors), while Kate's technique was absolutely flawless -- she is really exceptional, truly world class," said Ray Flynn, chairman of Athletics Ireland's high performance committee.

Carlow sprinter Marcus Lawler (St Laurence O'Toole AC) also had a great day, knocking over a 10th of a second off his Irish youth record when finishing second in his 200m heat in 21.63 seconds to qualify for today's semi-finals.

Meanwhile, young stars Ciaran O Lionaird (Leevale) and Paul Robinson (St Coca's) joined the elite ranks of Ireland's sub-four minute men at the 125th Clonliffe Track and Field Classic in Morton Stadium last night.

American Jordan McNamara also ran a personal best to win the prestigious Morton Mile in 3.56.82, ahead of compatriot Brandon Bethke (3:57.34), but O Lionaird made his own milestone when third in 3:57.99, ahead of Australia's 800m champion James Kaan (3:58.19).

Seven of the field broke the magical four-minute barrier -- the seventh of them Kildare athlete Robinson, the Irish junior mile record holder, whose 3:59.99 made him the youngest Irishman to have achieved the feat.

Tallaght's Sean Connolly was most unlucky, missing the sub-four by just one hundredth of a second.

Ciara Mageean and Ulster sprinters Jason Smyth and Amy Foster also clocked fast times last night.

Mageean ran a timely 800m personal best of 2:03.21 ahead of this month's European Juniors.

Smyth dipped under 21 seconds for the first time when winning the 200m in 20:95 and also won the 100m in 10.39.

Foster (Lisburn) equalled Anna Boyle's Northern Ireland record when winning the 100m in 11.49 ahead of Ferrybank's Kelly Proper whose 11.60 was also a personal best.

Elsewhere, Usain Bolt cruised to victory over European champion Christophe Lamaitre at the Diamond League meeting in Paris last night.

The Olympic and World champion's time of 20.03 was well outside his world record of 19.19, but Bolt was still 0.18 seconds clear of Frenchman Lamaitre.


Irish Independent

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