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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

Meet Ireland's Olympic team: Mark English

The man from Donegal will be flying the flag for Ireland in the men’s 800m in Rio next month.

Mark English on his way to finishing fifth Source: Ian MacNicol/INPHO

Event: Men’s 800m.

Who is he? One of Ireland’s biggest hopes for a strong showing on the track in Rio. English won bronze at the European Championships in Zurich in 2014 and silver at the European Indoors last year in Prague, so he has already proven that he’s capable of competing with the elite.

Where’s he from? A proud son of Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

Olympic CV: Having only turned 23 earlier this year, Rio 2016 will represent English’s first taste of the Olympics.

Road to Rio: His preparations have been hampered by an ankle injury he sustained while jogging around the UCD campus, which forced him to miss the World Indoor Championships in March. However, his place at the Olympics was booked as far back as July of last year when he ran 1:45.49 to come fourth at the Anniversary Games in London.

When does he start? English will be in the heats at the Olympic Stadium on Friday, 12 August.

Where can I follow him? He’s well worth a follow on Twitter (@MarkEnglish_) and he’s active on Instagram too under the same handle.

What he says: “I know what I can do myself and obviously I’ll have to take this injury into account when I’m setting expectations, but I always know going into an event I’m capable of doing something and have never doubted my ability.” (The42, May 2016)

Medal chances? Despite having his injury troubles, he’s arguably the main reason for Irish optimism on the athletics front. Reaching the final is a very realistic possibility, but with the bronze medallist at London 2012 running more than two seconds faster than English’s personal best, a place on the podium in Rio might be too much to ask for.

Three out of five on our scientifically-developed, patented Jerry Kiernan scale…


And here’s something you probably didn’t know… As if being an Olympic athlete wasn’t demanding enough, English is also studying medicine at UCD.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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