Reynolds bows out but moves closer to Olympic standard

Reynolds bows out but moves closer to Olympic standard

Ireland’s campaign at the World Indoor Athletics Championships drew to a close with North Down athlete Ben Reynolds being knocked out of the 60 metres hurdles at the semi-final stage.

Like Derval O’Rourke yesterday, Reynolds was denied a spot in the final – despite a solid start.

But Chinese legend Liu Xhang proved uncatchable in winning the semi in 7.53 seconds, ahead of Britain’s Andrew Pozzi in second, with Reynolds trailing back in seventh on 7.80, a two-hundredths improvement on his first-round time.

The 21-year-old is close to the A standard for the Olympic Games, but will be competing in Helsinki prior to London in the European Championships, which are now a biennial event.

Despite reaching a senior global semi-final for the first time, Reynolds was again unhappy with his display: “On paper it doesn’t look too bad but to be honest, the races were terrible. As a major positive, I can take home a lot of experience. I’ve got a big feel for the international events, so that alone makes it worthwhile.

“I haven’t been in great shape the latter half of this indoor season, due to the niggles. I woke up this morning with aches all over. Just the lack of training is catching up on me.

“I had a good start in that race, which put me in a good position. I flew over the first hurdle but crashed into the second and third. So the rest wasn’t up to scratch.

“When you hit a hurdle early on in the race, you lose momentum, so there’s the window of opportunity lost.”

Ciarán Ó Lionáird put Friday’s disappointing display in the 1500m semi-finals – where he finished 11th of the twelve starters – down to an Achilles strain that has been affecting him for a short while.

Florida-based Leevale athlete Ó Lionáird is still aiming for the London Olympics, with an option on Helsinki's European Championships at the end of June.

Ó Lionáird said on his performance: “It wasn’t a good day. I made some poor decisions leading into the race. I had a tight Achilles I had for a while, which turned into a sore one.

“I didn’t convey how I was feeling as well I was to my coaches. I didn’t do my preparation justice by running on a minor injury, but one where if the pace is slow and then picks up, if you can’t get up on your toes and sprint, then you’re going to be left behind.

“That’s something I’ve learned when you are competing and this level, and you are responsible for a lot of things.

“I’m responsible for keeping myself healthy and I will try and do this better going forward.”

Ó Lionáird has also stated his determination to concentrate more strongly on his athletics – deleting his heavily-followed Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Kenya won their first golds of the Championship on the final day – Pamela Jelimo in the 800m, Hellen Obiri overpowering Ethiopian Meserat Defat in the final lap of the 3000 – but with the final medals still up for grabs, no Kenyan man had won gold.

Bernard Legat represented his native Kenya once, but claimed 3000m gold in the colours of his long-time adopted USA by beating off Kenyan athletes Kiprono Choge and Cheruiyot Soi, with Britain’s Mo Farah in fourth. Farah still looks in the depths of winter training, and has London on his mind.

Lagat’s win was the second American gold claimed in the space of five minutes – a Championship record leap of 7.23m earned Brittany Reese the women’s long jump gold.

Will Downing, Istanbul

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