Superb Mark English surges to silver medal in Prague
Ulster's Mark English had the race of his life yesterday in the European Indoors Athletics Championships in Prague when he fulfilled all the pre-race speculation to snatch a silver medal in the 800 metres final.
Polish favourite Marcin Lewandowski claimed victory in 1 min 46.67 secs with English second in 1.47.20 just ahead of Thijmen Kupers of the Netherlands.
For a long time it looked like 21-year-old UCD medical student English had misjudged the pace as he was back in fifth after 400m.
However, Mark had other ideas and he turned on the afterburners in the final 200m for a perfectly judged display to claim silver.
A delighted English said: "As I had aimed to be third or fourth during the race I knew I just had to get up towards the end.
"The energy I had in the last 150m was amazing.
"All the jigsaw pieces have fallen into place as I now have the strength to be right up there.
"This ranks with my European outdoors bronze medal last year.
"There was real pressure on me to medal here and I am glad I did myself and my country proud.
"My big aim is of course the World Championships in China this summer."
In the Men's 1,500m Donore's John Travers also ran superbly to qualify for yesterday's final when he ran a PB time of 3.41.37 in his heat which was the fastest qualifying time outside the first two and the third fastest overall.
In the final he again acquitted himself well to finish seventh in a time close to his new PB of 3.41.50.
The race was won by local Czech favourite Jakub Holusa in a national record of 3.37.68.
Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games runner Danny Mooney was unfortunate to be placed in a slow 1,500m heat in his first ever appearance in an Irish vest.
In the usual breakneck sprint over the final two laps Danny finished sixth in 3.48.96.
In the Women's 800m semis DSD's Ciara Everard had to settle for sixth.
Meanwhile, GB's world indoor champion Richard Kilty blasted to 60m glory, after team-mate Chijindu Ujah was disqualified for a false start, to take the victory in 6.51 seconds.
There was heartbreak for Ujah, though, who had looked set to be his team-mate's only genuine rival, with nerves seemingly getting to him on the big stage.
Kilty's win followed a silver in the women's event from Dina Asher-Smith and a 1500m bronze for Chris O'Hare.