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Kerry O'Flaherty looks at the positives despite her World blow

By Brian Hill

Published 25/08/2015

Upbeat: Kerry O’Flaherty was 13th in her steeplechase heat
Upbeat: Kerry O’Flaherty was 13th in her steeplechase heat

Kerry O'Flaherty was upbeat yesterday despite an indifferent run in the first round of the steeplechase at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing.

She recorded a time of 10 minutes 5.10 seconds, which was one of her slowest of the season and some way off her recently set NI record of 9.42.61.

Qualifying for the final was always a difficult ask for O'Flaherty and her two Irish colleagues Sarah Treacy and Michelle Finn as the heats contained the World's top 45 athletes.

O'Flaherty valiantly tried to stay in touch with the leading group in her heat and while she lost valuable ground at each water jump, she remained in the mix until the final three laps when the pace and 30 degree temperature took their toll.

The 34-year-old staggered over the line in 13th in a race won by Turkey's Tugba Guvenc in a PB of 9.26.19. Afterwards an exhausted O'Flaherty said: "I am not happy with that but I am not going to let it get me down. It was disappointing because my training had been going so well.

"It was very warm out there and I started to seriously overheat in the final two laps.

"I struggled over some of the barriers as it was difficult to see them as a large number of tall girls were just ahead of me. Steeplechases are very unpredictable so I can only put this down to one of those days. I consider this as a great experience for the Olympics in Rio.

"Some people had written me off because of my age but I have put in 10 years' hard work and I feel I have more to do. I don't want to end my season on this note so I will probably race once more this season".

Treacy recorded the best time of the Irish trio. She also finished 13th in her race in a time of 9.48.24, while Finn was 11th in her heat in 9.55.27.

Finn Valley's Tori Pena cleared 4.30 metres in the pole vault but then narrowly failed to clear 4.45 metres on her third attempt.

North Down high hurdler Ben Reynolds competes tomorrow knowing he will probably have to break his recent NI record of 13.48 seconds to progress.

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