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Mark English eyes top time to take him to dream semi



Big chance: Mark English has more shots at medals this week (INPHO/Morgan Treacy)

Big chance: Mark English has more shots at medals this week (INPHO/Morgan Treacy)

©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Big chance: Mark English has more shots at medals this week (INPHO/Morgan Treacy)

In the early hours of tomorrow morning treble European 800 metres medallist Mark English will be attempting to achieve his dream by reaching Sunday’s semi-finals in Tokyo.

The Finn Valley man (28), who took part in the Rio Olympics, has timed his fitness to perfection by recently breaking David Matthew’s 26-year-old Irish record in Spain with a time of 1 min 44.71 secs.

English is well versed in performing well in major championships as shown by his three European medals, the most recent being an indoors bronze in Glasgow in 2019.

The Donegal native knows that nothing less than a time close to his PB will ensure progression from his cut-throat first round heat.

The Women’s 800 metres semis will take place later and first round heats includ the top Irish ranked trio of Nadia Power, Siofra Cleirigh -Buttner and Louise Shanahan.

Also racing is Emerald’s Sarah Lavin in her 100 metres hurdles heat.

The 27-year-old is currently on a high following some six PBs this year.

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Meanwhile, when it comes to Thomas Barr learning of chances at this Olympic Games, this is the best way to start – by lining up alongside the world record holder and reigning world champion, a litmus test of a 400m hurdles heat.

Facing Karsten Warholm of Norway in this morning’s opener will give the 28-year-old Waterford athlete a key indicator of his form and, barring mishap, he should have little issue advancing as one of the top four automatic qualifiers to Sunday’s semi-final.

There, Barr will need a top-two finish to automatically advance and emulate what he achieved in 2016, when he was the first Irishman for 84 years to reach an Olympic sprint final.

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