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Illness a hurdle in Ciara's Euro bid as Sommer struggles

 

Knocked over: High jumper Sommer Lecky fails to clear 1.81m in Glasgow
Knocked over: High jumper Sommer Lecky fails to clear 1.81m in Glasgow

By Brian Hill

Top Irish middle distance runner Ciara Mageean finished as the third fastest qualifier in the 1,500m heats of the European Indoor Athletics Championships last night in Glasgow.

However, she suffered a severe bout of illness after her event which raised concerns about her energy levels ahead of tomorrow's final.

The 26-year-old Portaferry woman ran the perfect heat, remaining in third for most of her race. Spanish athlete Maria Perez took the honours, with relative unknown Simona Vrzalova of the Czech Republic next home.

Virtually nothing separated the top three as Perez recorded a PB of four minutes and 8.05 seconds, with Vrzalova timed at 4.08.06. Mageean clocked 4.08.15, her second fastest time of the season.

Earlier, a rampant Laura Muir delighted the Scottish crowd with a controlled win in a slow heat. The final heat was also won in a slow time by Euro Outdoors silver medallist Sofia Ennaoui of Poland.

All of these women will be a threat in the final and Mageean's chances of getting a medal appear to rest on her recovery from her stomach problems which have been a difficulty over the years.

In the men's 800m, double European medallist Mark English got back to winning ways when he controlled his heat before sprinting away in the final 200m.

His time of 1.49.38 was relatively slow by his standards but he expressed satisfaction with the result. English is getting back to his old form and will be hotly tipped to qualify from today's semi-final race.

Conall Kirk (23) of Annadale Striders ran a solid 800m heat but could not stay with the pace in the closing stages. He expressed some disappointment with his time of 1.50.50 but said he was looking forward to the summer season.

However, there was bitter disappointment for World Junior silver medallist Sommer Lecky in a classy high jump qualification.

The 18-year-old had recently equalled her indoors PB of 1.86m, and in Glasgow she cleared the opening height of 1.75m but failed three times at the next height of 1.81m.

And there were mixed fortunes for top-ranked Irish competitor Phil Healy, who was third fastest in her 400m semi-final.

She struggled to qualify from her first round heat with a relatively modest time for her of 53.13 seconds. The 23-year-old was in the lead until the last 30m when she appeared to tie up and was passed by two athletes in the final few metres.

She then ran 53.65 seconds for third place in her semi with only the first two progressing.

Bronze outdoor European 400m hurdler Thomas Barr could only manage fifth place in his heat in 48.22 seconds and did not progress.

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