Gregan suffers injury just as medal seems possible
ATHLETICS:FARAWAY, SO close – but no room for any imperfections when European titles are on the line. If Brian Gregan looks back on what happened here last night with any regret at least it won’t be for stepping over line, but that the line just didn’t come soon enough.
With 30 metres to go Gregan looked safe in third – poised to become the first Irish medallist in the European 400m final. But by then he’d already felt as if a bullet hit his right leg, almost crippling his stride, and so he dragged himself on and over the line: sixth place – and with that he promptly fell flat on his back, as you would.
“Yeah, I really thought I had a medal with 30 metres to go,” Gregan said minutes later, clutching a bag of ice to his left groin. “But my groin went, after about 80 metres, and I wasn’t even sure if I could keep going at all. The last couple of metres it really took its toll, messed me up.If that hadn’t happened I know I would have medalled. The tight bend didn’t help.”
So it seemed the curse of the Helsinki curve – as it’s been dubbed – again worked in troubling ways. The bigger pity is while the brilliant young Pavel Maslak from the Czech Republic took the win in 45.24, there was definitely the chance of an Irish medal of some colour: as it turned out, Hungarian Marcell Deak-Nagy took second in 45.52, but with Gregan’s legs faltering, Frenchman Yannick Fonsat passed him first, in lane one, taking third in 45.82 – and then, in sudden succession, on his outside came Donald Sanford from Israel and Britain’s Richard Buck – leaving Gregan to cross the line in sixth, 46.04
The more immediate hope is that that groin injury won’t deny him a last chance of shooting for the Olympic A-standard of 45.30.
Earlier it seemed certain Paul Hession had run too close to his lines to make the 200m final, but then the curse of the Helsinki curse struck again, in other ways. Hession did step outside his lane on route to finishing fifth, in 20.84, although not as to impede the runner outside of him – so he got away with it.
But not Stefanos Tsakonas, the Greek who won the semi-final – only to be disqualified for the bizarrely rampant breach of rule 163.3a. Hession was promoted to fourth, and the last qualifying spot for this evening’s final.“I didn’t run well,” said Hession, “and I shouldn’t have been in that position, waiting on the fastest loser. But I can’t emphasise enough how strange that bend feels. It completely throws you out.”
However, the curse of the curve did take out Steven Colvert from the morning heats: Colvert finished fifth in 21.24. Worse followed when he was disqualified for the lane infringement, later finding out that 21.24 would have seen him through.
There were no complaints from Jessie Barr after the final of the women’s 400m hurdles final other than three races in three days had taken its took – her eighth place in 56.83 a clear sign of those demands on the 22 year-old. Irina Davydova from Russia – the defending European champion – ran the fastest time of 2012, a blazing 53.77, for the victory.
10.10 1500m W R1: Ciara Mageean, Orla Drumm
11.45 1500m M R1: Paul Robinson
12.45 110m hurdles M R1: Ben Reynolds (Withdrawn, injured)
17.55 3000m sc W Final: Stephanie Reilly
18.25 4x400m M R1: from – David Gillick, Brian Gregan, Brian Murphy, Thomas Barr, Jason Harvey, Tim Crowe
19.00 10,000m M Final: Mark Kenneally; David Rooney
19.50 4x400m W R1 from – Joanna Cuddihy, Claire Bergin, Marian Heffernan, Michelle Carey, Catriona Cuddihy, Joanne Mills
20.20 200m M Final: Paul Hession
14.10 1500m W Final
14.35 110m hurdles M SF
15.05 4x100m W Final
15.25 10000m W Final: Fionnuala Britton
16.25 4x100m M Final
18.50 1500m M Final
17.10 110m hurdles M Final
17.25 4x400m W Final
17.45 4x400m M Final