Leitrim race walker Griffin qualifies for Olympics

Leitrim race walker Griffin qualifies for Olympics

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

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