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In-form Irish duo Lavin and Tobin clock huge PBs to advance at European Indoors

Nadia Power, Mark English, Cian McPhillips and Phil Healy are all in action in the business end of their respective events this evening.

Sarah Lavin after her heat.
Sarah Lavin after her heat.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

TWO MORE IRISH athletes have progressed and set stunning personal bests at the European Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland, after Sarah Lavin qualified for the 60m hurdles semi-final and Sean Tobin booked his place in the 3000m final.

Lavin continued her sparkling recent form, clocking a new PB of 8.06 seconds to finish third in her heat and secure automatic qualification for tomorrow’s semi-final.

Prior to today, the 26-year-old’s PB was 8.13 – Derval O’Rourke is the only Irish women to go faster — having broken it twice on her way to third at the World Indoor Tour in Madrid last month.

After a false start which saw Romania’s Anamaria Nesteriuc disqualified, Lavin took the disruption in her stride and produced an excellent run to smash her lifetime best, finishing behind reigning champion and hot favourite Nadine Visser of the Netherlands (7.92) and Great Britain’s Cindy Sember (7.99).

“If this can bring the slightest bit of happiness to any of my friends and family, that’s what’s most important,” Lavin said in the mixed zone, as quoted by Irish freelance athletics journalist Cathal Dennehy.

“At the end of the day I’m just running and jumping over stuff, but it’s really tough for everyone at the moment.

“There’s always something to improve on. I don’t think any athlete has the perfect race. My coach, she’s a tough cookie, so I’m sure she’ll have plenty to work on. No job is done yet. I’m delighted, obviously, but I just need to reset, refocus and go again.”

The Limerick ace will do so at 12.30pm tomorrow.

Tobin, meanwhile, sealed his progression to the final of the 3000m with a PB of 7.47.71 in his heat, which sealed a fastest qualification spot. His best before today was 7:48:01.

The Tipperary man produced a brilliant run — covering the final kilometre in 2.28 — to finish fifth and clocked an impressive time, putting him sixth on the on Irish all-time Indoor list.

Tobin, 26, will now turn his attention on tomorrow’s final at 4.52pm Irish time.

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There was no joy for Ireland’s two other runners in the event, John Travers (8:05.96) and Brian Fay (7.56.13), nor the trio in the 60m heats: in their respective races, Leon Reid finished fifth in 6.75, Israel Olatunde was fourth in 6.79, and Dean Adams was seventh in 6.89.

Attention now switches to this evening’s action where Nadia Power will line out in the 800m semi-final (6.16pm) after her electric start yesterday and Cian McPhillips and Mark English contest the men’s equivalent shortly after.

And Phil Healy — another who enjoyed an incredible opening showing yesterday — gears up for the 400m final at 7.25pm after winning both her heat and semi.

Coverage commences on RTÉ 2 and RTÉ Player from 5.30pm, with BBC also bringing the action to TV.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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Emma Duffy

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