Leon Reid dejected after finishing seventh in European 200m final
Bath-based sprinter says he needs ‘to build a few more biceps and get ready to go again’
Leon Reid after the men’s 200m final in the European Athletics Championships in Berlin. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
One thing for certain: Leon Reid isn’t in this sprinting business as an also ran, missing out on the medal hunt in the final of European 200m and promptly declaring himself “pissed off”.
Given his seventh place came just 50 minutes after Thomas Barr had run himself on to the medal podium of the 400m hurdles there was a natural air of anticlimax, although Reid was being a little hard on himself. Reigning world champion Ramil Guliyev from Turkey struck gold in a championship record of 19.76 seconds, the second-fastest European time ever; it was closer for second: Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchel-Blake getting silver with his 20.04, the same time as Alex Wilson from Switzerland – his 20.04 a national record.
Like Barr, he was running out in lane eight, and the Bath-based sprinter gave himself every chance, running strongly around the bend – only to realise the medals were soon running away from him, coming home seventh best: he clocked 20.37, his third fastest of his career, and just off of the Irish record of 20.30 he is now qualified to break, just six days after being cleared from Great Britain – for sure already announcing himself as the future of Irish men’s sprinting.
“Yeah, bit pissed off, it just wasn’t good enough,” said Reid. “I tried to hit the bend, and they must have just piggy-backed off me, and I just couldn’t get anything back on the straight. I didn’t really see them coming, and you don’t really get the chance, but when he [Guliyev] was gone he was gone, and then the Italian came inside me, and I just couldn’t do my usual straight finish. It just didn’t come off today.
“But with worlds next year, we’re just going to continue grow as a team. I’m happy with the experience, and I know I need to step up again, but we wanted to attack that first bend, and that’s what we did. For to run 20.0, I need to hit the bend and the straight. That’s what I need to work on. I was where I wanted to be into the straight. Tokyo is definitely on the cards, worlds next year, I just need to build a few more biceps and get ready to go again.”
When he’s already stood on the European medal podium – not just once but twice – only Mark English knows what it must feel like to be trailed off in his qualifying heat on his 800m, earlier in the day, finishing sixth in his qualifying heat in 1:48.98. At age 25, his potential over the distance at one stage projecting upwards, it’s an obvious demise, and English must know that too.
He came to Berlin hoping for the best but instead realising the worst. Two years later English won bronze at the 2014 European championships in Zurich, running 1:45:03, and kicked on again in 2015, winning the silver medal at the European indoor championships in Prague. He does have the additional demands of his medical studies at UCD, with one more year to run, and English wasn’t offering any excuses, or any real explanation either.
Ireland’s other entry Zak Curran didn’t fare any better, running 1:49.31 to finish seventh in his heat. That leaves Ciara Mageean as the last individual final prospect on the track, but she can’t leave anything to chance in her heat on Friday morning, Britain’s Laura Muir in her heat, only the top four assured of going through.