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Conor Ferguson's Rio Olympic dream over for now

By David Kelly

In the end a less than perfect finish at the Irish championships cost Conor Ferguson a place at the Olympics in Rio — just five hundredths of a second away from the 100m backstroke qualification mark.

Last night at the European championships in the London Olympic pool, the 16-year-old produced another fine performance to place 13th overall but his time of 54.99 was five tenths away from the time needed to join fellow Irish swimmer Shane Ryan on the plane to Rio.

Naturally, the teenager — who swims for Larne — was bitterly disappointed at missing out on becoming the youngest ever Irish male to qualify for an Olympics but he is looking to the future, starting with the European junior championships in Hungary in July and down the line a place at the 2020 Olympic Games.

“Obviously I’m gutted I didn’t get the time but it’s been an exciting year for me, especially the last two weeks. Roll on 2020,” said Conor. “I will come back stronger and better.”

While Conor bowed out, 21-year-old Ryan made it through to the final.

Britain’s Hannah Miley took silver in the 400m individual medley in 4:35.27. Gold went to Hungary’s Iron Lady, Katinka Hosszu in 4:30.90 with another Magyar Zsuzsanna Jakabos third,  4:38.39.

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