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NI ace McMullen comes up short in Euros

Athletics

By Brian Hill

Belfast long jumper Adam McMullen competed yesterday in the first field event of the European Athletics Championships in Berlin.

The 28-year-old Crusaders athlete faced strong competition with only 12 of 30 competitors qualifying for tomorrow’s final.

His best jump was a rather disappointing 7.47m, which was insufficient for him to progress. The top qualifier was Miltos Tentoglou of Greece with a leap of 8.15m.

There was a better performance for Irish sprinter Phil Healy, who qualified for today’s 100m semi-finals.

Healy took second place in her heat with a time of 11.44 seconds, behind Ajla del Ponte of Switzerland (11.39 seconds).

Gina Akpe-Moses narrowly missed qualifying as a fastest loser with a time of 11.63 seconds.

Today’s programme includes  Brendan Boyce of Finn Valley in the 50km walk.

The 31-year-old was unfortunate last year to sustain a hamstring injury before the World Championships in London.

This was particularly frustrating as he had just achieved his second fastest ever time of three hours, 49 minutes and 49 seconds.

As his best time this year is over three minutes slower, he will be looking for improvement.

Claire Mooney and Siofra Cleirigh Buttner are in the first round of the 800m.

UCD’s Mooney has had an impressive season with a series of PBs, which included victory in the Belfast International where she defeated Ciara Mageean.

The 26-year-old then ran even faster in Belgium with new figures of 2.01.61.

North Sligo’s Chris O’Donnell races over 400m. He has a season’s best of 46.85 seconds.

Meanwhile, Great Britain captain Dai Greene was ruled out of the European Championships after his injury curse struck again.

The 2011 world champion, back in the squad for the first time since 2013, suffered a tight hamstring in the warm-up for the 400m hurdles heats yesterday.

He was seen limping away from the Olympic Stadium in Berlin to end his hopes of a remarkable revival.

A statement from British Athletics read: “Great Britain and Northern Ireland team captain Dai Greene has sadly been forced to withdraw from today’s qualifying round of the men’s 400m hurdles after his hamstring tightened during warm-up, causing him difficulty hurdling.”

It is the latest damaging blow for the 32-year-old, who pulled out of Wales’ Commonwealth Games squad with a previous hamstring injury in April.

He has suffered with groin and hernia problems which have forced him to miss several championships, including the 2014 Europeans and the 2016 Olympics.

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