THOMAS CHAMNEY leaves for Barcelona today, on the last leg of a carefully planned mission that should eventually take him to the final of the 1,500m at the European Championships in two weeks’ time.
The teak-tough Clonmel man has been to Barcelona quite recently — last Friday night in fact — running a career best time of 3:36.83 for the 1,500m which places him in ninth in Europe at precisely the right time.
He flew back to Dublin the following day for the heats of the 800m at the Woodies DIY national senior championships and successfully defended his title on Sunday.
“I know some people were complaining about nationals being at an awkward time, but I was not going to pass up the opportunity to run in Barcelona because it was in the stadium where the Europeans are going to be held — we had to go through the call room process and all that — so that will be beneficial in the long run.”
But there was much more to it than that. He now feels that the experience of running back-to-back races over three days will benefit him come the Europeans when his competition will be decided over four days.
“I was always going to do that and then come back to Dublin and do my best. With practising for rounds — the 1,500m is Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and I won’t be taking a plane in between this time — this was probably more difficult than recovering between the rounds. From that point of view it was a good idea to race Barça and come back here and race the nationals.
“I will do an 800m on Sunday in Lignano — I always go there every year — and according to the Meet Director it is going to be good, there is a good rabbit and there are some good Americans in it.
“I’ll definitely be looking to get a 1:45 on the board and then just go back to training. All the work is done. I just need a couple of speed sessions to get my legs really firing. I’ll be ready to give a good account of myself in the Europeans.
“In the 800m there are 20 guys who can do well. In the 1,500m there is maybe 10 and none of them have my 800m speed. Rumour has it (Mehdi) Baala is out, then we have the likes of Andrew Baddeley and Tom Lancashire and whatever three the Spanish decide to send so, basically, beyond those five it’s guys like me and I have put myself in a good position to do something, make the final and then who knows.
“I have been tagging this for two or three years, I am 26 now, I have been to Olympics, worlds, Europeans, so I have the experience behind me. I won’t have any excuses. It is about getting out and executing my race plan. If I do that I should come away happy.”
Chamney was named at both 800m and 1,500m in the preliminary team for the European championships which was announced yesterday by Athletics Ireland.
World silver medallist, Olive Loughnane (Loughrea), who was forced to pull out of the 5k walk at the national championships at the weekend with a stomach bug, will lead the medal challenge. She is joined by Derval O’Rourke, a silver medallist in the 100m hurdles in Gothenburg four years ago, David Gillick, Paul Hession and Robert Heffernan, who will be joined at 20k this year by Jamie Costin.
Gordon Kennedy (Tullamore Harriers), who achieved the standard when winning his first national senior title on Sunday, is one of three 400m runners — joining Gillick and Brian Gregan while Californian pole vaulter, Tori Pena, who has declared for Ireland and won the national title on Saturday, is also named subject to clarification under the IAAF eligibility rule.
Jason Smyth (100m) is recovering from injury and Joanne Cuddihy, a finalist in the 400m in Gothenburg, said she will compete only if she is satisfied she can make the final.
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