Mullen endures European Games frustration

Mullen endures European Games frustration
Ireland Athletics team following Dynamic New Athletics quarter-final match two at Dinamo Stadium on Day 5 of the Minsk 2019 2nd European Games in Minsk, Belarus. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

A frustrated Ryan Mullen believes his decision to push the pace on the opening lap of the Men’s Time Trial cost him a medal at the European Games in Minsk yesterday.

Mullen finished fourth with Ireland team-mate Michael O’Loughlin sixth on the 28.6km technical circuit through Minsk City. Mullen started the race as one of the top seeds, and came within one second of taking bronze, in a time of 33:41:43. Belarussian Vasil Kiryienka took gold, Oliveira Nelson of Portugal took silver, and Czech rider Jan Barta won bronze.

Speaking after the race, Mullen said: “On paper it looked like a really straightforward course, but it turned out to be one of those courses that you have to keep attacking. There was a lot of recovery in corners which brought down your average a bit, so you were getting more recovery than you realised and had to constantly ride over pace.

“It turned out to be a really hard effort, and I feel like I slightly misjudged it. I went over paced in the first lap, and then I paid for it in the last ten minutes of the race.”

Carrick-on-Suir’s O’Loughlin started the race against the clock in the first wave, finishing with a time of 34:32:69. His time put him straight into third place, a position he held until the closing stages when he dropped to an eventual sixth.

Still racing in the U23 category, O’Loughlin was pleased with his performance, “It feels good, I’m really happy with sixth. I wanted a top 10, and in that I thought I’d be ninth or 10th, but to finish sixth and close enough with the top five, I’m pretty overwhelmed with that.”

In Canoeing, Ronan Foley kicked off his campaign in the Men’s K1 1000 category, qualifying to the semi-finals after setting a PB of 3:37:385. Foley was the European Junior Champion and World Silver Medallist in the marathon event, and the European Games is providing valuable experience for him in his first year in the senior ranks.

“I have the 5k in two days time, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how I can go, and how I can develop myself in both distances in the future years to come,” said Foley.

In Badminton, Ireland’s Mixed Doubles Team of Chloe and Sam Magee and Men’s Singles player Nhat Nguyen will have must win clashes in their final group games after all suffering setbacks yesterday.

After a fantastic win on Monday evening the Magees came out fighting against the French pair and group favourites Delphine Delrue and Thom Gocquel but lost in three sets 22-20, 19-21, and 16-21 to the French pair.

The Magees have a rest day tomorrow before taking on the home team on Thursday where a win should see them through to the quarter-finals.

Nhat Nguyen, 19, the youngest badminton competitor in Minsk, faced the experienced Pablo Alves of Spain on his second group match but lost 21-19, 20-22, 13-21. Nguyen meets the group bottom seed Luka Raber of Austria tomorrow when a win will see him into the last 16.

Yesterday also saw the Men’s Doubles team of Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds lose their second group game to France’s Ronan Labara and Tom Gicquel 10-21, 8-21. The Irish pair have a final group game against Estonia today. In archery, Maeve Reidy bowed out at the last 16 stage of the Women’s Recurve Individual, beaten on the last arrow by Rio Olympic Silver Medallist Inna Stepanova from Russia 0-6.

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