Belfast Telegraph

English fires out a World warning with 800m victory

 

First place: Mark English
First place: Mark English

By Brian Hill

Top Irish middle distance runner Mark English served notice that he is firmly in contention for World Championship selection after he defeated the cream of British 800m athletes in yesterday's Muller Grand Prix in Birmingham.

English, from Letterkenny, employed his usual cautious tactics in the race and was close to the rear after a modest first lap by the leaders of 51.12 seconds.

The 26-year-old was still well down the field at the start of the home straight.

However, he then produced an astonishing burst of speed in the final 30m to overtake the entire field and clinch victory in a season's best time of one minute 45.96 seconds.

Trailing in his wake were Alfred Kipketer of Kenya, who was second in 1.46.10, and Great Britain duo Elliott Giles (1.46.27) and Jamie Webb (1.46.38).

English, who has just graduated from UCD with a degree in medicine, is now only a mere 0.16 seconds short of the qualifying standard for the World Championships in Doha.

It is strongly rumoured, however, that athletes who fall just short of the standard are likely to be accepted by the IAAF.

English will be hugely relieved by this totally unexpected win as he had experienced a trying few days which included defeat in a slow-run race in the European Team Championships in Norway, plus an 800m race in Cork where he failed to finish.

He is, however, an athlete for the big occasion, as shown by his three European medals - including an indoors bronze won in Glasgow earlier this year.

Thomas Barr, who was fourth at the Rio Olympics in 2016, will also be pleased with his fifth-place finish in the 400m hurdles in 50.16 seconds, his fourth best this season. His fastest this year (49.11 seconds in Oslo) is a qualification mark for Doha.

Ireland's Sarah Healy ran a personal best in the mile event where she was 12th in 4.40.72.

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