Ireland's Nadia Power. Morgan Treacy/INPHO
brave but beaten

Disappointment for Irish trio in 800m semi-finals at European Indoor Championships

Nadia Power, Cian McPhillips and Mark English all finished fourth in their respective races, falling short in their bids to reach finals in Toruń.

THERE WAS DISAPPOINTMENT for Ireland’s three representatives in the 800m semi-finals at the European Indoor Championships in Toruń, Poland, this evening. 

Nadia Power, Mark English and Cian McPhillips failed to make tomorrow’s finals, with all three finishing fourth, though positives can be taken.

Power was first up, her wait to reach a first senior championship final continuing after a glittering indoor season. The Dubliner finished fourth in her semi-final, clocking a time of 2:04.04 after a brave performance.

With just the first two going through, the stakes were high for Power. She looked strong early on, starting off in lane five and doing everything right tactically up to the halfway point.

From there, she took off and eased herself into the lead down the home straight of lap three of four, approaching the bell. The 23-year-old soon found herself in no man’s land, however, after Great Britain’s Ellie Baker cut in and took the race by the scruff of the neck.

To Power’s credit, she never gave up, but things certainly got away from her as Poland’s Angelika Cichocka won it out in 2:03.18, while Baker took second.

“I just wanted to run to my strength, to hit it hard in the middle of the race and run to my strengths,” she told RTÉ after. “I did that, and ran with no regrets. At least I was brave and went for it. It still was a great season and I learned a lot from it.

“I’m super disappointed today but I’m so, so motivated for the summer.”

Having enjoyed a rich vein of form this indoor season, smashing her PB to hit 2:00.98 and setting two Irish records before Síofra Cléirigh-Buttner retained it, Power sealed her semi-final spot after holding strong to finish in second place in her heat yesterday, clocking a time of 2:03:16.

Irish record holder Cléirigh-Buttner and Georgie Hartigan both finished fourth in their respective heats, so failed to progress.

Elsewhere in this evening’s semi-finals, red-hot favourite Keely Hodgkinson, the 19-year-old from Great Britain, dominated the first to win in 2:03.11, with Switzerland’s Lora Hoffmann coming in second.

Hodgkinson’s and Baker’s GB team-mate Isabelle Boffey, also 19, booked her spot in the final in the second with a second-place finish, while Poland’s Joanna Józwik won it out in 2:03.15.

Moving to the Irish interest in the men’s equivalent, like Power, McPhillips finished fourth in his blisteringly fast 800m semi-final in a time of 1:48.06. 

McPhillips ran well, and everyone wrongly thought he was rewarded for his efforts by securing the European U20 record — though that was announced in error at the time.

Poland’s Mateusz Borkowski (1:45.79) and Great Britain’s Jamie Webb (1:45.99) finishedfirst and second. (There was serious confusion afterwards, though, with Borkowski disqualified and Sweden’s Andreas Kramer (1:46.87) bumped up, though he was later restored.)

Likewise, English finished fourth in his semi-final in 1:48.99 — in the last of the 800ms.

The Donegal man was left behind early on and while he mounted a brave comeback, he looked to run out of steam in the latter stages. France’s Pierre-Ambriose Bosse won in 1:47.86, with Poland’s Adam Kszczot second in 1:47.98.

“The head is raised high and I’m looking forward to getting back and training for Tokyo,” English told RTÉ afterwards.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Amel Tuka and Poland’s Patryk Dobek finished 1-2 in the first semi-final in 1:47.55 and 1:47.56 respectively, as Spain’s Mariano Garcia missed out.

Both English and McPhillips made it through their heats last night to reach the semi-finals; Longford youngster McPhillips recording a time of 1:49.98 to finish second after an exceptional run, while English overcame a stumble to finish third in 1:49.79.

The pair recently produced an 800m for the ages at the Irish Athletics Micro Meet, three-time European medallist English shattering his own national record, pushed all the way by Leaving Cert student McPhillips who came up just 0.03 seconds short at the line.

Both broke the seven-year-old record of 1:46.82; English clocking 1:46.10, and McPhillips hitting 1.46.13 — the latter knocking six seconds off his old PB, and breaking the Irish U20 record.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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