Sunday afternoon was the 4th and final day of competition at the 8th European U23 Athletics Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and Ireland had its final two competitors in action in their respective finals. First up was Kourosh Foroughi (Star of the Sea AC) in the men’s High Jump final.
The young and talented Foroughi had done well to qualify for the final, and today he gave a good account of himself by placing 7th with 2.18m, just short of his best height of 2.20m, which he equalled at the Cork City Sports earlier this month. The former fifth place finisher at the European Junior Championships cleared all his opening jumps on the first attempt, from his first height of 2.05m to his fourth clearance of 2.18m. Foroughi then unfortunately failed to clear 2.21m with his three attempts, and had to settle with his 2.18m for 7th. The winning jump was 2.24 by The Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko.
Next up was Moynalvy AC’s Sara Treacy in the final of the women’s 1500m.
Treacy too had done well to make the final of this highly competitive event by posting a new PB of 4:16.32 yesterday in her heat to finish 7th, and to claim one of the fastest loser places for the final. In a slow and tactical affair, Treacy was challenged on the last lap for pure speed but gave it everything on the day to finish 10th of 12 starters in 4:25.97. Gold went to Turkey’s Tugba Karakaya in 4:20.80. The improving Treacy will have grounds though to feel relatively satisfied with her performance here in Ostrava, and will no doubt be eager to go sub 4:15 for the event before the season concludes.
Overall these Championships have seen some good performances from this Irish team.
Ireland had 6 finalists in different events, and 6 personal bests set from 6 individual athletes.
Brian Gregan’s excellent silver medal in the men’s 400m final yesterday has been of course the major highlight.
It is understandable why Brian Gregan felt such a degree of elation at winning the silver medal in the 400 metres, and doing it with the fastest time of his young career.
“Two years ago I had a bad injury and I’ve gone through hell to get back here for another crack at winning a medal” said the 21 year old Dubliner, after his brave effort against a top class field, losing out on the gold by just two hundredth’s of a second to Britain’s Nigel Levine, 46.10 to Gregan’s 46.12.
“This medal means everything to me, my family, my coach and my girlfriend, more especially after the many obstacles I’ve had to overcome to get here in shape to be able to run to my potential” said a thrilled Gregan.
“It was a bit windy, but I’ve trained in these conditions in the past and so this was my strength.”
But all the time his coach, John Shields, was there to give him encouragement, and things started to go right for Gregan just prior to departing for Ostrava.
In Saturday’s final he was slotted into lane five between Britain’s two 45 seconds runners, Levine and Luke Lennon Ford, but instead of being intimidated the Irishman used them and set his tempo to match them all the way to the finish, with Levine holding on by the skin of his teeth to win by inches, with Lennon Ford a close third.
“We have had a lot of ups and downs, but the efforts made it all worthwhile in the end” says Shields.
“We worked for this the hard way, and for Brian to come out and run the fastest and best race of his career is so very pleasing for him.”
Well done to Brian, and to all the Irish Team for giving their all at these European U23 Athletics Championships.
The 20 strong Irish European U23 team will be returning home to Dublin Airport tomorrow evening, Monday, at 9.30PM on Ryanair flight from Stanstead, terminal 1.
The Irish Results today were:
Men’s High Jump Final.
Rank Athlete Nation Result
1 BONDARENKO, Bohdan UKR 2.24
2 SANCHO, Miguel Ángel ESP 2.21 =SB
3 KIECANA, Szymon POL 2.21 PB
4 FASSINOTTI, Marco ITA 2.21
4 MUDROV, Sergey RUS 2.21
6 RUTKOWSKI, Jaroslaw POL 2.21
7 FOROUGHI, Kourosh IRL 2.18
8 BUBENIK, Matus SVK 2.18
9 MELON, Alen CRO 2.18
Women’s 1500m Final.
Rank Athlete Nation Reaction time Result
1 ARZHAKOVA, Yelena RUS 4:20.55
2 KARAKAYA, Tugba TUR 4:20.80
3 HARRER, Corinna GER 4:21.52
4 BRONIATOWSKA, Katarzyna POL 4:22.06
5 URBANIK, Danuta POL 4:22.37
6 SUJEW, Diana GER 4:22.89
7 SMITH, Stacey GBR 4:23.53
8 SUJEW, Elina GER 4:23.88
9 DE GRANDE, Lindsey BEL 4:25.24
10 TREACY, Sara IRL 4:25.97
11 CUNHA, Daniela POR 4:27.89
12 POHORYELSKA, Viktoriya UKR 4:28.40