Belfast Telegraph

O'Flaherty puts herself in Games contention

By Brian Hill

Newcastle's O'Flaherty had the race of her life at the weekend as she finally reached the steeplechase qualification standard for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The 32-year-old was competing in the Big Athletics international in Oordegen, Belgium. In a high-powered race which was won by Sweden's Charlotta Fougberg in a national record of 9 minutes 34.61 seconds, Kerry stuck to her task to cross the line in fifth position in a time of 9 minutes 52.94 seconds, which is well within the Games requirement of 9.55.

This represents a huge PB for her which she previously set over two years ago in the USA. Ireland's Sarah Treacy finished in sixth place in 10.05.61.

O'Flaherty will be delighted with her performance coming at the end of a long injury-strewn period, during which she continually battled to gain the necessary Glasgow standard. The Province now has a record 11 qualified athletes hoping to be selected this weekend for the Games.

At the same Belgium meeting, Waterford's Thomas Barr set an Irish 400 metres hurdles record of 49.61 seconds, which beats Tom M'Gurk's previous mark of 49.73 seconds. In a classy race Belfast's Jason Harvey, who is also qualified for Glasgow, finished sixth in a season best of 51.13 seconds.

Irish Indoors 800 metres record holder Mark English of Letterkenny won his event in 1.46.39. In the 100 metres, City of Derry's Jason Smyth was just edged out of fourth place in a photo finish by Irishman Steven Colvert, who recorded 10.58 seconds.

In the European Youth Olympics in Baku, Lisburn AC's Roseanne M'Guckian ran 24.56 seconds in her 200 metres heat. Team-mate Andrew Barkley was 16th in the discus with a distance of 50.84 metres.

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