ON A GREAT day for Irish athletics, Brian Gregan became the third Irish athlete to secure a place in a final on day two of the European Track and Field Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
Gregan running in lane six looked fluent and relaxed as he made up the ground on the athletes outside him. Coming down the home straight, Latvia’s Janis Leitis started to come alongside Gregan. However
Gregan stuck to his task and pushed all the way to the finish to claim second place in a time of 45.76. The importance of nabbing that all important second spot means Gregan is assured of a good lane draw for the final.
Following his achievement, Gregan said:
“I am reasonable happy with that, conditions were cold out there in comparison to the heats. I felt strong coming down the finishing straight. I could feel the Latvian on my inside and knew exactly what I had to do. I am just going to rest now before the final and give it my best.”
Earlier in the day, Jessie Barr blitzed her way into the Women’s 400m Hurdles Final. Barr ran a personal best time of 55.93 to finish fourth in her semi final; the time was good enough to qualify her into Saturday’s final.
Stephanie Reilly was another of the Irish athlete to make a big impact on day two. Reilly finished sixth in a time of 9.44.15 in the women’s 3000m steeplechase semi-finals to qualify for the final. Reilly ran a superb race from the offset and looked extremely composed throughout. A leading group of four athletes started to pull away from Reilly at the 1500m mark; however the Wicklow-born athlete never panicked and strode home to her second quickest time ever over the distance and a place in the final to boot.
Reilly said: “That was my first major race of the season, it felt really good. I didn’t have much of an indoor season, which is unusual for me but I put in some good base work instead and certainly feel a lot stronger. The aim coming in was to make the final so now that I am there I will give it everything I have.”
Tori-Pena was unlucky not to qualify for the women’s pole vault final. Pena had first time clearances at 4.15m and 4.25m. Pena showed resilience when she cleared 4.35m on her third attempt. Unfortunately Pena then had three failures at 4.40m, a height that would have got her into the final.
Irish Athletes competing tomorrow:
Steven Colvert, 200m heats, 10.30am & Semi-Final 18.25
Paul Hession, 200m heats, 10.30am & Semi-Final 18.25
Amy Foster, 200m heats, 12.00pm & Semi-Final 18.55
Jessie Barr, 400m Hurdles Final, 18.00
Brian Gregan, 400m Final, 19.25