No problems for Gillick in 400m qualifying

David Gillick, who has high hopes of a podium finish in Barcelona, comfortably negotiated the opening round of the 400 metres at the European Athletics Championships this morning.

The Irish sprinting star finished first in the third heat, pushing ahead through the final bend and holding off Dmytro Ostrovskyy of the Ukraine in the home straight for a winning time of 45.84 seconds.

Gillick's time was the third fastest of the five heat winners, with Britain's Michael Bingham (45.49) leading the way.

Martyn Rooney, Gillick's British training partner, qualified in second place in the opening heat, behind Belgium's Kevin Borlee (45.71 seconds).

The other winners were Borlee's brother, Jonathan (45.91), and Russian prospect Vladimir Krasnov (46.07).

Speaking after his heat win, Gillick said: "Round 1 is always the round you want to get out of the way.

"It's an early start, breakfast, bang on the bus, warming up and qualifying while trying to conserve your energy.

"It was very hot this morning, and it's just a case of getting out there and doing the job. I opened up around the back bend and felt good, so I'm pleased with how it went."

The Dubliner will be hoping for a favourable draw in tomorrow evening's three semi-finals, along with Tullamore's Gordon Kennedy who qualified as one of the fastest losers.

National champion Kennedy, who is competing at his first major Championships since 2000, finished sixth in the heat won by Kevin Borlee, clocking 46.63 seconds.

However, Clonliffe Harriers clubman Brian Gregan missed out. His time of 46.90 when finishing fifth in Krasnov's heat was not good enough for a fastest loser's spot.

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