English storms to sensational 800m victory
Stunning 1:45.32 time just outside World Championships A-standard
Ailis McSweeney stretches over the line to finish third in the women’s 100m at the Morton Games at santry Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Mark English upstaged even the feature event at the Morton Games at balmy Santry Stadium last night with a sensational victory in the men’s 800 metres and a time to match it – his 1:45.32 and just outside the A-standard for the next month’s World Championships in Moscow .
Hot on his heels too was Paul Robinson, in a close fourth, who with that also lowered his best to 1:45.86 and also inside the B-standard for Moscow.
It was English, however, who had the crowd on their feet - timing his finish to perfection, his 1:45.32 not only improving his own previous best of 1:45.77, but also improved on the Morton Stadium record of 1:45.98, which had stood to the Russian Dimitri Bogdanov since 2000.
Most important of all perhaps is it proved English only endured a minor blip at last week’s European Under-23 championships, when he narrowly failed to make the 800m final, and the Donegal runner is now in line to gain considerable experience in Moscow should he decide to compete there.
Robinson was equally satisfied with his 1:45.86, and also some consolation for the Kildare after he was just run out of the medals over 1,500 metres at the European Under-23’s in Tampere last weekend. English got the better of the American duo of Casimir Loxsom (1:45.75), with Mark Wieczorek in third – his 1:45.86 the same time as Robinson.
So to the feature event, the Morton Mile, where Cory Leslie dominated throughout and although one of the few runners willing to go with the pacemakers, still held on with the biggest kick finish to take the win in 3:55.85 from fellow American Duncan Philips (3:56.27) – with Waterford’s David McCarthy best of the Irish in 3:57.93, back in seventh place.
But there was delight too for Kilkenny’s Eoin Everard who was also rewarded with a sub-four time of 3:58.93, in ninth place.
Other highlights of the meeting – dominated by middle distance performances – was the latest best for Laura Crowe over 800m, her time of 2:02.63 just a stride behind the American winner Kate Makey, who took the win in 2:02.21; while in the sprints events Kelly Proper got the better of Ailis McSweeney in the 100 metres, clocking 11.75, with McSweeney third in 11.92.
Elsewhere there was also another excellent performance from the Irish athletes competing at the European Youth Olympics in Utrecht as William Crowe won the silver medal in the 1,500 metres - his time of in 3.59.08 just two seconds behind the winner Baptiste Michler of France.