By Will Downing, Berlin
Phil Healy put in an assured performance to qualify for tomorrow’s 100m semi-finals at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin.
The dual 100m and 200m Irish record holder came second in her opening-round heat at the Olympic Stadium, clocking 11.44 seconds behind Switzerland’s Ajla Del Ponte in 11.39, but impressively edging out Bulgaria’s Inna Eftimova by one-hundredth of a second.
The top three all automatically went through.
The Waterford-based athlete’s time was 0.16 seconds outside her Irish record set at the Dublin Championships at the start of June, but for the Bandon AC speedster, it was mission accomplished.
Healy said after her heat: “It was all about the big Q today (qualifying automatically) and to get into the semi tomorrow.
“It was close, but I held my composure and got that second spot.
“It’s a relief not having to wait for a small q (going through as a fastest loser). Job done.
“I’ve had a lot of big races throughout the season against a lot of top athletes, like the Americans and all the girls over in Cork, so it’s all practice.
“I’m into the next race and yes it’s the European Championships, but it’s just another race and I’ll take it all into tomorrow.”
Healy is determined that despite her spectacular season, her feet are still firmly on the ground.
“Shane (McCormack, her coach) definitely wouldn’t let me get away with anything like that,” she quipped.
“If you get carried away, all the other girls would get ahead of you.
“It’s using the confidence from each of the races that gives me the evidence that I have the quality times.
“It’s been a great season so far, so I will just go onto the next one.”
World U20 silver medal-winning relay heroine Gina Akpe-Moses bowed out after a solid 11.63 second run saw her finish fifth in her heat - Norwegian record holder Ezinne Okparebo taking the honours in that qualifier in 11.44.
Akpe-Moses was two places and 0.02 seconds outside the fourth and last of the fastest-losers places, but had to wait until the final heat of the three to discover her fate.
The European junior champion felt she could have gone faster today, but is still making improvements all the time: “The time was not good but I’m content with the run itself.
“I feel like with the seniors, you have to go out hard and not be behind, because usually I have a poor start and I have to catch up.
“The fact that today I was there from the start - I lost a little bit towards the end – I feel confident that I can build towards something even better.
“The start today was a lot more explosive and powerful, so it’s definitely something I’m happy about.”
Adam McMullen bowed out in the long jump qualifying however, registered 7.47 metres twice during the competition, well done on his lifetime best this year of 7.88m, and outside both the automatic qualifying mark of eight metres, and the shortest actual qualifying mark of 7.71.