Gina Akpe-Moses and Ciara Neville make 100m semi-finals
Sprinters both finish second in their heats at World Junior Athletics Championships
Ciara Neville has qualified for the semi-finals of the 100m at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland. Photograph: Sasa Pahic Szabo/Inpho
More signs of the times, with two Irish sprinters now vying for a place in a World Championship final and both so far looking the part.
Both with reasons to be hopeful too – Gina Akpe-Moses and Ciara Neville getting prime lane draws for their 100m semi-finals at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland, set for Thursday afternoon (4.0pm Irish time).
With room to spare, Neville was first to qualify on Wednesday morning, finishing second in her heat in 11.54 seconds, her fastest this season. Despite a nervous start, Akpe-Moses did likewise in her heat, also finishing second in 11.58. Only the first two, plus the two fastest losers, across the three semi-finals go through to the final, set for later in evening (7.15pm).
“My start was a bit off, I thought I heard something, but luckily nothing more,” said Akpe-Moses, the reigning European junior 100m champion, after her heat was initially called back for a faulty start. She goes in the first semi-final, in lane six, with the American Twanisah Terry for company, the fastest junior in the world this year with her 10.99 seconds.
“I felt great, in the best shape of my life, and delighted to go through,” said Neville, the Limerick athlete going next in the third semi-final, in lane five. She has the other American to contend with, Daija Lampkin, plus Britain’s Kristal Awuah, who won her heat a best of 11.35 –- but like Akpe-Moses appears to have more in the tank
“I need to be aggressive and meet it head-on,” added Akpe-Moses, who improved her 100m best to 11.46 this season and will definitely press hard for a place in the final.
Both performances also auger well for the Irish 4x100m relay chances, as they will be joined Rhasidat Adeleke and Patience Jumbo Gula later in the week. Adeleke, still only 15, won the 200m gold at the European Under-18 championships in Gyor, Hungary at the weekend, while Jumbo Gula finished fifth in the 100m.
Davicia Patterson ran an excellent 53.57 to finish third in her 400m semi-final, missing qualification by one spot, and Jo Keane also ran a new 800m best of 2:06.91 in her semi-final, missing out on the final by two spots.