Gregan times it well to take Euro silver


ATHLETICS:BRIAN GREGAN was already billed as the future of Irish 400-metre running and that’s starting to ring true. Gregan’s silver medal run at the European Under-23 Championships in Ostrava over the weekend brought him closer to 45-second territory, and there’s clearly more to come.

The 21-year-old from Tallaght found himself in a high-quality race, but drawn in lane five, held his nerve and cool to finish in a lifetime best of 46.12 seconds – splitting the two British favourites, who took first and third.

Halfway down the home straight it looked as if Gregan might snatch gold, but it was Nigel Levine who took first in 46.10 with British team-mate Luke Lennon-Ford, third in 46.22 – although Gregan had nothing to be disappointed about as both these athletes had run 45 seconds this season.

Gregan’s previous best of 46.21 was set last year, but after overcoming some injury problems at the start of the season, is only now approaching full fitness, with the promise of faster times to come this season.

“Brian ran a very sensible race and his tactics were perfect,” said his loyal coach John Shields.

“He is a great athlete to train and the few setbacks he has had in the past have only made him stronger as a person and as an athlete.”

His silver medal is the third Irish success in such competition in recent months, following the under-23 team gold at the European Cross Country in December, and the victory by Kate Veale in the World Youth Championships 5km walk last week.

Jessie Barr also ran a fine race to finish fifth in the final of the women’s 400m hurdles, clocking a career best time of 56.61, from lane eight, which also improved the Irish Under-23 record.

Steven Colvert also ran a lifetime best time of 20.76 in his semi-final of the 200m, and although drawn in lane one for the final, still ran well to finish sixth in 21.03 behind the Greek winner, Likourges Tsakanos, 20.56.

Elsewhere, Ciarán O’Lionaird of Leevale AC continued his fine run of new personal bests when he raced in Heusden, Belgium on Saturday, and clocked 13:33.64, in wet and windy conditions, to knock some 20 seconds off his previous best.

Seán Connolly of Tallaght AC was fourth in the B 5,000m 13:48.05 which was also a new personal best.