David Gillick cruised impressively into the European Championship 400 metre final at Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium this evening.
The 27-year-old always looked in control as he clocked a season’s best 44.49 seconds to win his heat ahead of Britain’s Michael Bingham, who recorded 44.88secs.
Gillick said: “I ran my own race. I knew Bingham would come up inside me because he had me to chase and it was important that when he did so I just stayed as relaxed as possible.”
Gordon Kennedy did not make it through, though, finishing eighth in his semi-final in 46.72s.
In the 800m, David McCarthy qualified for the semi-finals as a fastest loser, finishing an eventful heat fifth in one minute 49.53.
Holland’s Robert Lathouwers ran off the track after trying to squeeze down the inside of McCarthy, who had been leading, on the top bend with 200m to go.
That disqualified the Dutchman, but he carried on, cutting the bend and then barging McCarthy as he returned to the track, causing the Irishman to stumble and lose ground.
Lathouwers was disqualified after crossing the line.
McCarthy said: “He tried to come through the inside in a gap which wasn’t there and I just held my ground. He went off the track and I knew he was out of the race, but he came back on and I could see him coming but couldn’t do anything about it.”
There was disappointment for Olive Loughnane, whose medal hopes in the 20 kilometre walk were ended by illness this morning.
Loughnane, who won silver at last year’s World Championships, was forced to pull out after completing just 5km of the circuit.
Jason Smyth, the two-time Paralympic champion who yesterday became the first Paralympic athlete to compete in the European Championship, just missed out on a place in the 100m final.
Smyth, who is partially sighted, finished fourth in his semi-final in 10.46.
Ailis McSweeney made it into the semi-finals of the 100m, finishing fourth in her heat in 11.52 to also go through as a fastest loser.
Britton Fionnuala made it through to the women’s 3000m steeplechase final as another fastest loser, but Stephanie O’Reilly missed out.
California-born Victoria Pena, who qualifies for Ireland through her grandmother, failed to make it through to the final of the pole vault despite equalling the Irish record of 4.15m.
Joanne Cuddihy missed out on a place in the 400m final, finishing fourth in her heat in 52.58.
And neither Rory Chesser nor Thomas Chamney made it into the final of the 1500m.