European Indoors: Sarah Lavin and Sean Tobin clock lifetime bests to advance

Lavin has been in impressive form lately and will take place in semi-finals on Sunday

Ireland’s Sarah Lavin competing in the heats of the Women’s 60m Hurdles at the European Indoor Athletics Championships. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

By running their lifetime best times both Sarah Lavin and Sean Tobin continued the Irish progress during Saturday morning’s session at the European Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland ahead of some final showdowns later in the evening.

Lavin came to Poland on the back of two personal bests in the 60 metres hurdles run in quick succession, and the Limerick athlete improved on that again when running 8.06 seconds to take third place and an automatic qualifying spot.

Running in the fifth of six heats, Lavin improved the 8.13 she’d run a week previous, victory in her heat going to gold medal favourite Nadine Visser from the Netherlands in 7.92; the semi-finals and finals are both scheduled for Sunday.

“There’s always something to improve on,” said Lavin, the 26-year-old also paying tribute to her coach Noelle Morrissey. “I don’t think any athlete has the perfect race. So I’m sure my coach will have plenty to work on.”


Tobin also booked his place in Sunday’s 3,000m final after running a lifetime best of 7:47.71 in his heat, improving on the 7:48.01 he’d run last month, the now sixth fastest time ever run by an Irish man. In what turned out to be the fastest of the three heats, the Clonmel runner placed fifth, victory going to Britain’s Andy Butchart in 7:46.46, which was enough to see the 26-year-old Tobin through as one of the fastest-losing times.

Poland’s medal Marcin Lewandowski didn’t start his heat, having been involved in the controversial 1,500m final on Friday night where winner Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway was initially disqualified, then reinstated: Ingebrigtsen cruised through his heat and now looks certain to complete the double.

John Travers kept himself in the hunt for qualification for a long time before dropping back on the closing laps to finish eighth in 8:05.96, while Brian Fay, a late call-up, ran close to his best when finishing seventh in his heat in 7:56.13.

An injury sustained in the warm-up didn’t help Leon Reid’s prospects of getting through his 60m heat, where he finished fifth in 6.75; team mate Israel Olatunde was fourth in his heat in 6.79, before Dean Adams finished seventh in his heat 6.89, all three missing out on the semi-finals.

Saturday evening’s schedule includes Nadia Power in the women’s 800m semi-finals (6.16pm), Cian McPhillips and Mark English in their semi-finals (6.33 pm), plus Phil Healy in the final of the women’s 400m (7.25pm).