Brian Gregan’s World Athletics Championships campaign has drawn to a close with the Dubliner exiting the men’s 400 metres at the semi-final stage.
It was certainly an expected result in terms of the seeding, but Gregan still clocked one of the fastest times of his life, and also beat former world and Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt in bowing out.
Ominously, Gregan had drawn both Merritt and reigning world and Olympic champ Wayde van Niekerk on his immediate inside – and was quickly overtaken by both.
But Gregan dug in, passing Merritt before the line to finish 19th in the world overall.
The Clonliffe athlete’s time of 45.42 was still within 0.16 of a second of his lifetime best of 45.26 set last month in Dublin.
Not surprisingly, world record holder van Niekerk – going for a 200-400 double – won in 44.22 seconds, ahead of Botswana’s Baboloki Thebe’s 44.33.
Gregan said after his semi-final: “It was going to be a near-impossible task to reach the final. I had to run 44-mid, smash the Irish record and get very close to the European record to even have a chance.
“But now I know I can compete against these guys, and what it feels like to run that pace.
“I know what I have to work on now for next year, so I’m excited. I know I can run another fast time after recovering right, and I’ll race again later in the season.
“It was a positive enough experience in the end.”
On being drawn with such illustrious opponents alongside, Gregan relayed: “That’s exciting. It was always going to be a massive ask to reach the final.”
'I went out there and I had all the best guys in the world around me. It was tough but I'm fairly satisfied.' Brian Gregan post race pic.twitter.com/4k3PcouRbu— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) August 6, 2017
Earlier, Thomas Barr took fourth place (thanks to a disqualification to Kyron McMaster) in his 400m hurdles heat to qualify for tomorrow night’s semi-finals.
Mick Clohisey of Raheny Shamrock enjoyed a creditable 22nd place in the men’s marathon, clocking 2:16:21, with Sean Hehir of Rathfarnham WSAF 63rd in 2:27:33.
The women’s marathon saw Claire McCarthy of Leevale take 33rd position in 2:38:26, as Belmullet native Sinead Diver finished 20th for her adopted country of Australia, and bronze went to American Amy Cragg, whose husband Alistair won the European Indoor 3000m title in Madrid in 2005.
Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya and Bahrain’s former Kenyan Rose Chelimo took the gold medals.