Four Irish athletes advanced to finals on the opening day of action at the European U20 Athletics Championships in Jerusalem, Israel.
The four-day event got underway just after 6am Irish Time this morning, with thirty-two athletes set to don the green singlet this week.
The performance of the day from an Irish perspective arguably went to Cork teenager Lucy-May Sleeman (Leevale A.C.).
Sleeman, who competed at the World U20 Championships last summer in Colombia and won a silver medal in the national senior 100m this year, advanced to the final of the hotly contested Women’s 100m.
While the scale of Sleeman’s achievement is significant, the manner in which she qualified is also extremely impressive.
Running in lane one in her semi-final the 19-year-old got off to a blistering start, holding her form well all the way to the line, to clock a massive personal best of 11.54, knocking nearly a tenth of a second off her previous best and moving her to joint 15th on the Irish All-Time list alongside Derval O’Rourke.
Sleeman’s performance was good enough to finish fourth in her semi-final meaning she did have to wait until semi-final two was completed for her place in tomorrow’s final as a fastest non-automatic qualifier to be confirmed.
Earlier in the evening she had finished fourth in her heat in 11.53, aided greatly by a +3.9m/s tailwind.
Like Sleeman, Nick Griggs (Candour Track Club) also competed at the World U20 Championships last year and he was one of the first on the team in action in the searing early morning heat.
Griggs, who will represent Ireland at the World Athletics Championships later this month over 1500m, comfortably advanced to the final of the Men’s 3000m beginning his quest to retain the title he won back in 2021. The Tyrone man finished second in his heat, checking his surroundings down the home straight, before fist-pumping Norwegian athlete Andreas Halvorsen as he crossed the line in 8.32.22.
Fellow Irish athlete Jack Fenlon (St. Abban’s A.C.) was in contention up until the last 200m in the same heat finishing outside of the eight qualifying spots available for the final in 11th position.
There was also disappointment for Niall Murphy (Ennis Track A.C.) in the second heat of the event. Murphy led for most of the way before his early exploits caught up on him in the final 300m. The Clare athlete was later disqualified.
With only twelve athletes advancing to the final of the Women’s High Jump, Ava Rochford (Nenagh Olympic A.C.) knew she needed to deliver a big performance. The 17-year-old did exactly that, equalling her personal best with a 1.80m second attempt clearance. Rochford will be hoping to soar to new heights in Wednesday evening’s final.
Also competing in a field event final that evening will be Oisin Joyce (Lake District A.C.). The current national senior champion showed his class to book a final spot throwing a best of 67.47m in the Men’s Javelin.
Niamh Murray (Bray Runners) produced a massive performance when it mattered most. Racing in the Women’s 400m the young athlete clocked a personal best of 54.75 to finish fifth in the opening heat. Murray then faced an anxious wait to see if she could hold on to one of the four fastest non-automatic qualifying spots for tomorrow morning’s semi-final. Much to her delight that was confirmed after the final heat as Murray just about clung on. She will return to action just after 8am tomorrow morning.
Adam Nolan (St. Laurence O’Toole A.C.) also advanced to the semi-finals in his event, the 110m Hurdles, as a fastest non-automatic qualifier. The national U20 record holder looked strong as he powered across the line to finish fifth in his heat in a time of 13.76. His semi-final takes place tomorrow afternoon at 2:55pm.
Lughaidh Mallon (Lagan Valley A.C.) failed to advance to the Men’s 1500m final, finishing 11th in his heat in 4.00.86. Only the top six made it through.
Tomorrow morning Victoria Amiadamen (Dooneen A.C.) and Fintan Dewhirst (Tir Chonaill A.C.) will both race in the heats of the Women’s and Men’s 400m Hurdles respectively. Lucy-May Sleeman is entered in the heats of the 200m later in the session.
In the afternoon Maeve O’Neill (Doheny A.C.) and Neil Culhane (ACE A.C.) will toe the line in their respective 800m heats.
Irish in Action: Day 2
Morning – Tuesday 8th August
- Victoria Amiadamen – Women’s 400m Hurdles – Heat 4/4 – 06:56 (08:56)
- Fintan Dewhirst – Men’s 400m Hurdles – Heat 1/4 – 07:15 (07:15)
- Niamh Murray – Women’s 400m – Semi-Final 2/2 – 08:12 (10:12)
- Lucy-May Sleeman – Women’s 200m – Heat 1/3 – 08:50 (10:50)
Evening – Tuesday 8th August
- Adam Nolan – Men’s 110m Hurdles – Semi-Final 1/3 – 14:55 (16:55)
- Maeve O’Neill – Women’s 800m – Heat 3/3 – 16:09 (18:09)
- Neil Culhane – Men’s 800m – Heat 3/3 – 16:34 (18:34)
- Adam Nolan – Men’s 110m Hurdles – Final – 17:30 (19:30) *
- Lucy-May Sleeman – Women’s 100m – Final – 18:00 (20:00)
*Subject to qualification
Day One results are HERE