IRELAND’S MARK ENGLISH has won a bronze medal in the 800m at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, Switzerland this evening.
The 21-year old finished third behind the Polish pair of Adam Kszczot and Artur Kuciapski in a time of 1:45.03, equalling his season’s best.
English only qualified for this evening’s final after finishing as a fastest loser in Wednesday’s semi-finals and improved his time considerably in tonight’s race.
After moving up the field in the final lap, it looked like English would win the silver, however he was denied by the fast finishing Kuciapski and had to settle for bronze.
The UCD medical student announced his arrival on the world scene with a fifth place in the World Junior Track and Field Championships in 2012.
He is just the sixth Irish male athlete to medal at the Europeans – after Ronny Delaney (1958), Frank Murphy (1969), Eamon Coughlan (1978), Mark Carroll (1998) and Rob Heffernan (2010) – and first to achieve the feat in the 800m.
Speaking after the race, English said:
“It’s fantastic. I’ve been waiting a lifetime for this.
“I’ve been training for the last few years to get a medal on the big stage,” English told the BBC.
The Minister for State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, congratulated the Letterkenny athlete on his success this evening.
“I am delighted for Mark and his team, it is a brilliant achievement and bodes well for Mark.
“The Irish team has had mixed fortunes over the course of this Championships but it always great for the athletes and their families when medals are brought home.
“I am sure this will give Mark great confidence going forward and as always the nation will look forward to rallying behind him.”