Team Ireland European Indoor Athletics Championship Round-Up

ByEmma Porter |

Thursday 2nd Opening Session

Luke McCann (UCD AC) secured his place in Friday’s 1500m final on the opening day of the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul (Thursday, March 2nd).

McCann went in the final 1500m heat, knowing exactly what he needed to ensure his return to the following day’s start line at the Atakoy Arena.

McCann left nothing to chance, positioning himself to the front of the field throughout. Some interference in the final 50 meters saw McCann slip a few places in the finish, but his time of 3:41.51 (5th) was still well inside the time needed to secure one of the fastest non-automatic qualifier places.

Irish 1500m record holder Andrew Coscoran (Star of the Seas AC) went in heat 2 of the 1500m and unfortunately, his 4th place finish (3.44.11) was not enough to see him join McCann in the final. Coscoran looked comfortable throughout but some jostling for position over the final 400 meters saw the Star of the Sea athlete unlucky to be boxed in coming into the final straight which resulted in him missing out on the qualifying places.

Friday 3rd Morning Session

Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport AC) advanced to the semi-final of the 400m at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul on Friday morning.

Mawdsley placed sixth overall in the heats, clocking a time of 52.59 to come home just behind Austrian Gogl-Walli. The Tipperary athlete boasts a personal best of 51.91 and never looked like missing out on one of the two automatic qualifying places.

Friday 3rd Evening Session

Kate O’Connor (Pentathlon) and Luke McCann (1500m) secured top ten placings in their respective finals at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

O’Connor (Dundalk St Gerards) claimed 9th place in the pentathlon, missing out on breaking her own national record by just 43 points in another excellent multi-event display.

The Dundalk athlete would sign off her championships with a 2:20.08 in the 800m which would see her finish on a total of 4353 points. It signs off another superb series of performances for the 22-year-old at a major championship which augurs well for the upcoming outdoor season.

Luke McCann (UCD AC) went in a stacked 1500m final earlier in the schedule, finishing in 10th place in a time of 3:44.55.

Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport AC) faced a tough task in the semi-final of the 400m in the afternoon’s session, taking her place in the second of the semi-finals alongside gold medal favourite Femke Bol. Mawdsley was unlucky to have her stride checked-up at the bell which saw her slip to the rear of the pack. The Tipperary star fought hard to regain momentum over the final 200m but ultimately she would have to settle for 6th in 53.37. The time was not enough to progress to the follow days’ final but did ensure another European top 10 finish for Ireland.

Saturday 4th Morning Session

Ireland’s fastest man Israel Olatunde was among the trio of Irish athletes, including Darragh McElhinney (3000m) and Sarah Lavin (60m hurdles), to advance to the next rounds of their respective events on day 3 of the European Athletics Indoor Championships (March 4th).

Olatunde (UCD AC) secured one of the automatic qualification spots for the afternoon’s semi-finals of the 60m with a business-like 6.68 4th place finish in the early morning heats.

Olatunde broke the Irish indoor 60m record with a 6.57 a fortnight ago and the UCD sprint star will be expecting to build on the morning’s performance as he goes in pursuit of another European final appearance. The 20-year-old will be back on track for the 60m semi-finals in the afternoon.

Darragh McElhinney (UCD AC) also did no more than was required with a composed 4th place finish in the men’s 3000m which will see him progress to Sunday afternoon’s medal decider. McElhinney raced patiently throughout, utilising his finishing kick to cross in a time of 7.51.11.

World Indoor finalist Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC) also secured her place in Sunday’s semi-finals of the 60m hurdles with an assured 8.03 performance to continue her ultra-consistent season. Lavin had to race from lane 8 but looked very smooth in claiming second place as she bids to make another major final.

Saturday 4th Evening Session

Israel Olatunde (UCD AC) signed off his European Athletics Indoor Championships at the semi-final stage, clocking 6.69 for 7th place in the 60m which was not enough to see him progress to the evening’s final.

The 20-year-old faced a stiff task to qualify from lane 8 in a stacked race which was won by Italy’s Samuele Ceccarelli in a blistering 6.47.

Speaking after the race Olatunde said, “You can’t make excuses. You just go out and race and try to give your best performance so I’m proud of myself. I’m still young and I’ll take plenty of learnings from these championships. I’m proud to represent Ireland and of all the support I get at home so I don’t get too high during the highs or too low during the lows”.

The UCD sprint star has enjoyed a record-breaking indoor season and will now turn attentions to his 100m outdoor season with both the European U23 Championships and World Championships on the horizon.

Sunday 5th Morning Session

Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC) has secured her place in this evening’s 60m hurdles final at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul with a brilliant 3rd place finish in 7.99 to claim one of the automatic qualifying spots for the medal decider.

Racing from lane 5, Lavin broke from the blocks well, but it was her powerful finish which saw the Limerick athlete stay on strongly to ensure she will take her place in yet another major championship final.

Sunday 5th Evening Session

Darragh McElhinney (UCD AC) produced the race of his life in the men’s 3,000m final. Running in his first major indoor track final, McElhinney showed experience beyond his years to power home to a superb 4th place in a personal best time of 7:44.72.

The 22-year-old UCD athlete settled comfortably in the middle of the pack from the gun before an injection of pace from Jakob Ingebrigsten at the 2000m mark quickly stretched the field, with the Norwegian’s unrelenting surge ultimately taking him all the way to gold.

McElhinney meanwhile made a surge of his own, making up 6 places over the last 800m with his customary late kick showing no ill effects from yesterday’s qualifying round.

The 4th place finish represented another huge leap forward for the Cork athlete and his sights will now be firmly set on going shoulder-to-shoulder with Europe’s elite in pursuit of the podium position that was so agonisingly close today.

The 3000m medals went the way of Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) 7:40.32 NR, Adel Mechall (ESP) 7:41.75 SB, and Elzan Bibic (SRB) 7:44.03.

Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC) finished 6th in the 60m hurdles final. Running from lane 8, Lavin crossed in a time of 8.03, maintaining her position as one of Ireland’s most consistent performers at major international championships.

The performance ranked as her third major final appearance in the last 12 months, following on from the World indoor final last March, and her 5th place finish at the European outdoor championships in Munich.

The Emerald AC athlete will now look to transition her indoor form, which included her running the fastest 60m hurdles of her life, to outdoors with the World Championships in Budapest in August the key target.

Today’s 60m hurdles podium positions were filled by Reetta Hurske (FIN) 7.79 NR, Nadine Visser (NED) 7.84 SB, and Ditaji Kambundji (SUI) 7.91.

The Irish 4x400m relay team of Sophie Becker, Sharlene Mawdsley, Cliodhna Manning, and Phil Healy led out team Ireland in this evening’s session, finishing fifth in the 4x400m final in a time of 3:32.61.

The medals would ultimately go the way of Netherlands 3:25.66 CR, Italy 3:28.61 NR, and Poland 3:29.31.

The action rounds out another hugely encouraging championship for Team Ireland with six top-ten placings secured, including three in the top six.

Full results HERE

Results Summary

  • John Fitzsimons 800m – 16th
  • Andrew Corcoran 1500m – 12th
  • Luke McCann 1500m – 10th
  • Sophie Becker 400m – 16th
  • Cliodhna Manning 400m – 22nd
  • Sharlene Mawdsley 400m – 9th
  • Joan Healy 60m – 26th
  • Kate O’Connor Pentathlon – 9th
  • Israel Olatunde 60m – 18th
  • Women’s 4×400 relay – 5th
  • Darragh McElhinney – 4th
  • Sarah Lavin 60mH – 6th
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