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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: May 1, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

    Britton makes the grade in 10,000 metres

    Ian O'Riordan

    It’s an operation transformation of sorts and straightaway Fionnuala Britton is making huge strides. Without much problem, it seems, Britton has secured the Olympic A-standard for the 10,000 metres, which she now intends targeting in London later this summer.

    Although already qualified in the 3,000m steeplechase from last year, Britton went into the Cardinal Invitational meeting in Stanford University on Sunday looking for the sub-31:45.00 required for London, and finished up third in 31:29.22 – over 15 seconds inside the A standard, and now the fourth fastest on the Irish all-time list.

    Britton switched her attention to the longer distances after winning the European Cross Country last December, under the direction of her coach Chris Jones, and is fast delivering on her potential: she also intends targeting the A-standard over 5,000m in the coming weeks, having missed out a few weeks back, although at that point had just completed a period of hard training at altitude.

    She wasn’t far off victory on Sunday as Betsy Saina of the US took the win in a world-leading time of 31:15.97, with team-mate Amy Hastings second in 31:19.87. Britton was a little detached in the closing laps, yet will take considerable confidence from what was her first proper attempt at the distance.

    Reaffirming her Olympic qualification in the meantime was Tori Pena, who improved her Irish pole vault record to 4.52m at the Steve Scott Invitational in San Diego, having already secured the A standard of 4.50m last month.

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