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Mark English just misses out on place in 800m final

By Brian Hill

Published 24/08/2015

So close: Mark English was fifth in his semi-final
So close: Mark English was fifth in his semi-final

Ulsterman Mark English and Ferrybank’s Thomas Barr both progressed to the semi-finals of their respective events at the Word Championships, but despite their sterling efforts failed to make the finals.

English, who took bronze in the 800m European Championships last year, ran an aggressive race in his high quality heat where he finished fifth in 1 min 46.69 secs  to rank him 12th fastest of 24 qualifiers for the semis.

In his semi-final the pace was so hot that Mark was relegated to the rear of the field until the final 200m, but finished a commendable fifth in his second fastest time of the season of 1 min 45.55 secs.

The 22-year-old now has serious claims to being the best two-lap runner in the British Isles as the GB pair Kyle Langford and Michael Rimmer failed to progress out of the first round.

English said: “In my first round race I always planned to be in the first three or four from the gun. In a major championship you can’t afford to be further back as it is so hard to come through.

“I made that mistake in Moscow two years ago. I am so happy to have made the semis at world level for the first time ever. I am also pleased that I put two good races together in two days.”

World University Games 400m hurdles champion Barr also made it to the semi finals.

The 24-year-old then excelled in his semi despite the disadvantage of racing in the outside lane. Several athletes passed him on the final bend but Barr fought back in the final 50m.In a close finish  he managed to snatch fourth for  his second best time ever of 48.71 secs which is just 0.06 secs short of his recent Irish record. 

Today three female Irish steeplechasers will attempt the daunting task of reaching the  final.

The trio will be led by Newcastle’s Kerry O’Flaherty who is making her first appearance on the World stage at the age of 33.

Kerry won her place as a result of a storming run in Letterkenny last month where she took 9 secs off her own NI record to set new figures of 9mins 42.61 secs. In that race she defeated Michelle Finn and Sara Treacy who will also be racing in separate heats today.

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