Phil Healy is confident a return to her best form is not far in the distance after two fourth-place finishes at the 68th Cork City Sports meet.
Having fractured a bone in her foot during a warm-weather training camp back in April, Healy has been steadily rebuilding her season and was content with her two performances at the Cork IT track yesterday evening.
The Irish record holder over 100m and 200m clocked a season’s best of 11.49 over the shorter distance before returning to the track and posting 23.40 for fourth in the 200m. The swirling wind meant a repeat of her record-breaking 200m performance at last year’s event was never on the cards.
America’s Candice Hill took the win in both the 100m (11.37) and 200m (23.07).
The Ballineen native will compete over 200m at next week’s Morton Games, followed by a training camp in the South of France, and is optimistic of further improvement ahead of next month’s World Championships in Doha where she is targeting a semi-final place.
“I’m definitely still getting back to my best, but can see glimpses, if I could get ideal conditions,” said Healy.
Like, I might have had no broken foot from earlier in the year and still come out and run this 200m performance. This year’s conditions are totally different from last year’s Cork City Sports conditions. I haven’t run slower than 23.4 all year and so to run that in cold and blustery conditions here, I am really happy and looking to improve on that.
“That was my last 100m of the season. 100s aren’t easy to come out and do. It takes a few races to get up to where you’d like to be, but to be within three 100ths of a second from second place in what was a top-class international field, I am absolutely thrilled. I saw a video of my race back and I was absolutely left in the blocks. I do know there are areas to improve on and I can take those into the 200m.
“In Doha, hopefully, I can get to a semi-final. I just want to perform solidly, be that over one or two rounds. And to get decent times for the ranking system for Tokyo.”
Leon Reid made sure of Irish representation on the podium in the men’s 200m, with Marcus Lawler back in sixth.
Robert Domanic (USA) won a thrilling mile, overtaking Canada’s Justyn Knight in the final strides to win in a time of 3.58.91.
Mark English, still chasing the necessary time to secure him a plane ticket to next month’s World Championships, cut a disappointed figure after making the call to drop out of the 800m midway through the second and final lap. English was fifth at the bell but as the pace increased down the back straight, he quickly drifted towards the rear of the field before stepping onto the in-field with 200m remaining.
The 2019 European Indoor bronze medalist arrived in Cork fresh from his second place finish at the European team championship in Sandnes, Norway over the weekend and although he was in right in contention at the 400m mark, his race unravelled thereafter. Isaiah Harris of the United States was first across the line in 1.47.41.
In the women’s 800m, won by Olivia Baker from the States, Ireland’s Nadia Power continued her fine summer — which included European U23 bronze — with a personal best of 2.03.15 for fifth.
Limerick’s Sarah Lavin, who has enjoyed a return to form this season, was second in the women’s 100m hurdles in a time of 13.55. Canada’s Christie Moerman was a comfortable winner of the sprint hurdles race.
Olympian Priscilla Frederick, representing Antigua and Barbuda, took the women’s high-jump competition with a best of 1.88m, a height she cleared at the second attempt.
Her victory at the CIT track, though, is unlikely to be the highlight of her first trip to Ireland as she ties the knot in the coming days with her high-school sweetheart, American Kenneth Loomis. Loomis’ family originally hail from Mayo.
2018 World Junior Championship silver medalist Sommer Lecky of Donegal failed to get on the podium in the high-hump, placing fifth.