English aiming for podium finish in Olympics

English aiming for podium finish in Olympics

Mark English has said he is aiming to get his 800 metre time down enough for a podium position at the Olympics.

English said it as he scooped the athlete of the year award at this afternoon’s National Athletics Awards.

English became Ireland’s first man to land a European championship medal, picking up bronze over 800 meters last August.

Retired 1500 meters runner Roisin McGettigan was awarded a retrospective bronze medal for the 2009 European indoor championships after Russian Anna Alminova was handed a retrospective drugs ban.

Fionnuala Britton was awarded the endurance athlete of the year award for finish for finishing fourth at last Decembers European cross country championship.

English aiming for podium finish in Olympics

Ballymena and Antrim’s Christine McMahon was handed the emerging athlete of the year with Donegal youngster Karl Griffin handed the junior athlete of the year.

Those four athletes were put forward for the overall Athlete of the year award, with 21-year-old English handed the main award.

English said: "I was absolutely delighted to get that medal, I had a couple of tough years but I was able to keep focused and work toward the medal.

"I missed out on London 2012 by 17 hundreth’s of a second, especially after the two guys who beat me in the World junior medalled in London.

"It was tough time but I battled through it."

English raced into second position at the 800 meter final in Zurich and just fell short of grabbing silver being caught in the home straight by Poland’s Arthur Kuciapski.

"I always thought I was one of the tallest 800 meters runners ever but the Polish guy who got me must be one of the lankiest ever," joked English.

On the furture English said: "I think in time I can get down to 1:42, which would be enough for a podium position at the Olympics.

"I don’t want to look ahead to Rio and say that’s were I’m going, I’m going to focus on getting the European indoors and take it one step at a time.

"There’s always that expectation to qualify for an Olympic final but I’ll set my own exceptions and get to that Olympic final in Rio 2016, that’s my aim."

At the end of the ceremony Wicklow athlete Roisin McGettigan was awarded a retrospective bronze medal from the 2009 European indoor championships.

"I would have liked to have crossed the line and held my hands in the air," McGettigan admitted after accepting her 2009 bronze medal.

"I got a call from Athletics Ireland saying that they had the medal and they’d bring me home," explained McGettigan, now retired and living in Providence.

"It’s hard on the athletes who were done out of receiving their medal at the expense of drug users. At least my family are with me today to share the moment with me."

1969 European 1500 meter silver medallist Frank Murphy entered the Hall of fame, joining Eamon Coghlan, John Treacy and Ronnie Delaney.

Full Award winners

Junior Athlete of the Year Karl Griffin

Emerging Athlete of the Year Christine McMahon

Endurance Athlete of the Year Fionnuala Britton

Track and Field Athlete of the Year Mark English

Athlete of the Year Mark English

Hall of Fame Frank Murphy

Team Performance of the Year Irish Men's 4x400m Team

Inspirational Performance of the Year Thomas Barr (will close at 5pm)

Mountain Runner of the Year Sarah McCormack

Master Athlete of the Year Brian Lynch

Ultra Runner of the Year John O'Regan

Male University Athlete of the Year John Travers

Female University Athlete of the Year Maria O'Sullivan

Lifetime Achievement Phil Conway

Outstanding Coach Award Michael Lane

Official of the Year Tony Ennis

Development Club of the Year: Dunboyne AC

Club of the Year Leevale AC

More in this Section

Is there a dawn to follow the darkest moment?Is there a dawn to follow the darkest moment?

A victory for bravery, a defeat reeking of stagnationA victory for bravery, a defeat reeking of stagnation

Emery believes Arsenal can achieve something important this seasonEmery believes Arsenal can achieve something important this season

Real Sociedad return to winning ways to go fourth in LaLigaReal Sociedad return to winning ways to go fourth in LaLiga


Lifestyle

Volunteers from the multinational tech company harvest food fresh from Fota Gardens, writes Peter Dowdall.Made in Munster: The tech giant Apple harvesting food from Fota Gardens

Peter Dowdall takes a look at a plant that thrives in damp soil and is a key part of Ireland’s biodiversityThe wonders of willows: A key part of Ireland’s biodiversity

Pollutants can have an impact on your health, but there are things you can do to reduce the potential damage.High pollution days ‘lead to more cardiac arrests and strokes’: 5 easy ways to protect yourself

Even if you only have room for one pot in the smallest space, plant some tulips in it to make your garden spring to life, says Hannah Stephenson.7 design tips to make your tulips in garden pots stand out in a crowd

More From The Irish Examiner