Belfast Telegraph

Brave Christine McMahon misses out in battling display

By Brian Hill

Christine McMahon produced another gutsy performance in the 400m hurdles semi-finals, recording a time of 57.31 seconds – her third fastest ever.

It was always going to be a tall order for the 22-year-old QUB student to qualify for the final – she finished eighth – particularly as Great Britain's gold medal favourite Eilidh Child was also in the race.

However Christine attacked from the gun and was in sixth coming into the home straight.

She then faded slightly in the final 70m but it was still one of her best performances which was only slightly slower than her first round heat when she finished third in 57.16 – she achieved a PB of 56.97 in May.

The race was won by Child with the fastest qualifying time of 54.73 seconds which makes the Scot favourite for tomorrow's final and a follow-up success to her silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

William Sharman last night narrowly missed out on the European crown, after having to settle for 110m hurdles silver at the Commonwealth Games.

While the 29-year-old secured Great Britain a medal for the third successive night, he clattered the seventh and eighth hurdles in his bid to catch reigning gold medallist Sergey Shubenkov who won in 13.19 seconds.

"I slapped the hurdle with the trailing leg but that exposed the next hurdle which I hit with my lead," explained Sharman who was timed at 13.27.

"I could have done more and that's why I was gutted."

Meanwhile, Paul Pollock will lead a three-pronged Ulster attack – with Tom Frazer and Kevin Seaward – on the European Championships Marathon in Zurich on Sunday.

Annadale ace Pollock has always stated that he has targeted this specific race all year.

There is little doubt that a fully fit Pollock would be a serious medal contender, particularly following his 21st place in last August's World Championship Marathon in Moscow.

In that race he raised more than a few eyebrows by finishing as second European in 2 hrs 16 mins 42 secs, only 12 secs slower than his PB in Dublin the previous year when he was first Irish runner over the line.

Pollock then went on to set a Northern Ireland record in the World Half Marathon in Copenhagen last April, quickly followed by an impressive 10,000 metres track race in California in which he nearly set another record.

However, problems arose shortly afterwards when he suffered tendonitis in his lower leg which seriously affected his training over a six-week period.

However the determined 27-year-old doctor raced in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games two weeks ago, recording a respectable 29.11.46 time in the 10,000 metres to finish 19th.

Pollock explained that despite recovering from injury he was not prepared to turn down the prospect of performing in front of 40,000 spectators particularly as he was firmly of the view that 17 days was sufficient time for him to recover for Sunday's Zurich race.

Nevertheless the race will be something of a risk for the highly talented Pollock as he will be pushing his body to the limit given his far from ideal preparation.

The Ireland team will be relying on Pollock as they have high hopes of a good result in the European Team Championship.

There will be ample support from Chicago-based Frazer of St Malachy's who was selected on the basis of his impressive 2.17.45 time in Berlin a year ago.

Frazer has serious credentials having finished fourth in both the Dublin and Belfast Marathons.

Also racing on Sunday will be 28-year-old Cardiff-based Seaward, an impressive third in 2.18.46 in his inaugural marathon last April in Manchester.

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