Colin Griffin has boosted the Irish track and field team for the Olympic Games to 18 after sailing past the Olympic A standard to qualify for the 50k race walking at London 2012.
Griffin, competing in his last international event before the Olympic deadline, surpassed the A qualifying standard by six minutes in finishing 15th at the World Cup of Race Walking in Saransk, Russia.
The Leitrim race walker clocked 3 hours 52 minutes 55 seconds – well inside the desired mark of 3 hrs 59 mins for the longest Olympic athletics event.
It will be Griffin’s second Olympics, having qualified for the previous Games in Beijing, and marks an all-time record high of 18 Irish athletes to hit the “A” mark.
The 29-year-old tweeted: “Job done! 3.52.54 to finish 15th and 6 mins inside Olympic A standard. Hot conditions and 2 red cards after 10k to make it more challenging!”
Jamie Costin will miss out on his fourth Olympics after being disqualified during the race, while Michael Doyle suffered a similar fate in not finishing.
Russia swept gold and silver through twice world champion Sergey Kirdyapkin and Igor Erokhin, with Australian Jared Tallent in third..
Olive Loughnane put in a strong display in the women’s 20k walk by finishing a competitive eighth, in a season’s best 1 hr 31 mins 32 secs, four minutes behind race winner Elena Lashmanova of Russia.
World champion Olga Kaniskina of Russia was second, with Spain’s Maria José Perez third.
Ireland’s Laura Reynolds in 35th finished four minutes shy of the Olympic A qualifying mark, having started quickly.
World youth champion Kate Veale was sixth in the Junior 10k, ahead of her tilt at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona in July, while Robert Heffernan took 12th in the men’s 20k.
Irish Olympic ‘A’ qualifying standard – Athletics:
Paul Hession - men's 200m
Ciarán O'Lionaird - men's 1500m
Alistair Cragg - men's 5000m
Mark Kenneally - men's marathon
Robert Heffernan - men's 20k and 50k walk
Colin Griffin – men’s 50k walk
Brendan Boyce - men's 50k walk
Joanne Cuddihy – women’s 400m
Derval O'Rourke - women's 100m hurdles
Fionnuala Britton - women's 10000m and 3000m steeplechase
Stephanie Reilly - women's 3000m steeplechase
Deirdre Ryan - women's high jump
Tori Pena - women's pole vault
Olive Loughnane - Women's 20k walk
Maria McCambridge – women’s marathon
Linda Byrne - women's marathon
Ava Hutchinson - women's marathon
Catriona Jennings - women's marathon