Derval O’Rourke (Leevale AC) is safely through to the 100m hurdle semi-final after finishing in second place in her heat in 13.07 at the World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea. The championship favourite, Sally Pearson of Australia won the heat in 12.53, which was the fastest qualifying time overall. The semi-final takes place at 11.15am Irish time on Saturday.
O’Rourke’s performance was not the quickest of opening rounds by her standards but it was solid. The European Silver medallist is 19th overall going into the semi-final and the Cork woman will need to make a significant improvement on this to make the final, as she did in Berlin in 2009.
There was huge disappointment for Irish record holder Paul Hession (Athenry AC), who will not progress to the 200m semi-final after finishing fourth in his heat in 21.02. A time of 20.70 would have been good enough for Hession to gain a fastest loser spot into the next round. The Galway man has had a challenging season but it seemed he had turned a corner at the Woodie’s DIY Senior Track and Field Championships when he ran a season’s best of 20.51. This time was the A qualification standard for both World Championships and the London Olympic Games.
The women’s 4×400m team of Marian Heffernan, Joanne Cuddihy, Claire Bergin and Michelle Carey produced a quality performance to finish fourth in their heat in a new Irish Record of 3:27.48, improving on the 3.30.11 that they ran at the European Championships in Barcelona last year. Unfortunately this wasn’t good enough to make the final. The quartet however importantly finished in 12th position overall which will greatly help them in achieving the Olympic qualification standard* of a top 16 place world placing.
Marian Heffernan ran the opening leg for the team and there was a nervous moment when she slowed down in the opening 20 metres as she thought there was a false start but she quickly regained composure and passed the baton to Joanne Cuddihy in sixth place. Cuddihy, true to her word about wanting to redeem herself in the relay following her disqualification from her 400m semi-final due to a false start, ran a storming leg and passed the baton in third place to Claire Bergin. Bergin ran a solid leg but was closed down by the Italian just before the baton change over to Michelle Carey. Carey closed the gap on the Italian but remained in fourth place.
*Notes Olympic Relay Qualification
There shall be a maximum of 16 qualified teams in each relay event, based on the aggregate of the two fastest times achieved by national teams in the qualification period of 1 January 2011 to 2 July 2012. For the results to be valid for qualification purposes, a minimum of three international teams must compete in the race.