Hession gets Olympic standard

Paul Hession ran his fastest time of the year at today's Woodie's DIY National Senior Track & Field Championships, and in doing so secured his place at the 2012 Olympics.

Paul Hession ran his fastest time of the year at today's Woodie's DIY National Senior Track & Field Championships, and in doing so secured his place at the 2012 Olympics.

Hession won the 200 metres final in 20.51 seconds which is under the 'A' qualifying standard for the London Games. Speaking afterwards, he told RTÉ Radio 1: "To get the Olympic qualifier just before the World Championships sets me up really well. It is a late season this year. I had planned to run fast later and, thank God, it is working."

European Under-23 finalist Steve Colvert pushed the Athenry man all the way, coming home in 20.84 with Brian Gregan, a silver medallist in the European U-23 400m final, setting a new personal best (21.09) in third.

Hession praised the ever-improving Colvert, admitting: "It is the first time there has been a proper race in a while. It is brilliant and you know what, it is brilliant to have Steven there.

"He is the future but he is going to make me better as well. I can't come here complacent. He is going to be there and it's great.

"I was quite confident of being sent to the Worlds with a 'B' standard. But the Olympics, I've been really unlucky this month with conditions, like rain, and different things have stopped me running fast.

"Today here in Santry the conditions were great. I never expected it to be good so at least I took advantage of it. That's the second fastest time I've run in Dublin so it is good.

"It is very rewarding. The older you get, the tougher it is to justify the sacrifices. Hopefully today is an indication they are justified."

West Waterford starlet Kate Veale maintained her impressive summer form by setting a new Irish junior and Under-23 record in the 5km walk. Her time of 21 minutes, 30.18 seconds lowered the U-23 mark of Deirdre Gallagher which was set back in 1996, when Veale was only 2 years of age.

City of Lisburn's Amy Foster won the women's 200m title in 23.74 seconds, while the Morton Stadium crowd also witnessed track victories for Lizzie Lee (Leevale) in the 5000m (17:25.10), Newcastle's Kerry Harty in the 3000m steeplechase (10:23.29) and Clonliffe Harriers' Mark Kenneally in the 10000m.

Kenneally burst clear of Galway's Gary Thornton and Martin Fagan of Mullingar in the early stages og the race, and was a relatively comfortable winner in 28:58.39. Thornton was second in 29:39.53 and Fagan failed to finish.

In the field events, Clonliffe's Tomas Rauktys, the long-time leader of the shot put, was edged out by Sean Breathnach from Galway City Harries. He threw 16.24 metres in the last round to take the title.

The women's discus and hammer competitions were won by Tralee's Claire Fitzgerald (50.07m) and Cara Kennedy of Ferrybank (57.62) respectively, while Finn Valley's Tori Pena claimed the honours in the pole vault with a clearance of 4.20m.

St. Abban's athlete Eoin Kelly jumped 14.58m in the first and last rounds to win the triple jump crown ahead of Denis Finnegan of Leevale (14.49m).

Meanwhile, Simon Phelan (Newenham & Essex) made his first visit to Ireland in three years a winning one with a clearance of 2.05m in the high jump. Injury problems restricted his training and competition but he is now hoping to get back to his best of 2.15m.

The Championships continue tomorrow with hurdling star Derval O'Rourke bidding to win her ninth national title in the 100m hurdles. Alistair Cragg, who is also gearing up for the World Championships in Daegu, will be the hot favourite in the men's 5000m field in Santry.

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