Derval can end season in style, says Cahill

DESPITE a disappointing run in Zagreb on Wednesday, Derval O’Rourke can end the season in style this weekend, says coach Sean Cahill.

O’Rourke finished sixth in the 100m hurdles in 13.18 seconds on Wednesday night but Cahill feels the European silver medallist will improve when she represents Europe at the IAAF/VTD Bank Continental Cup in Split on Sunday.

Wednesday night’s race was won by American Lolo Jones in 12.87 secs with Perdita Felicien of Canada the only other woman to break 13 seconds, in 12.88.

“It was the ideal opportunity for Derval to get in a good result,” Cahill said. “She was in front at the fourth hurdle but she clipped the fifth ever so slightly – I mean she barely touched it – and she just lost concentration.

“Obviously she was disappointed because she felt it was not a bad enough mistake to do what she did but it certainly put her off a lot. She should have been in the mix and it was a great opportunity for her to put in a good result because the form around her was not exceptional on the night.

“But I feel she will run a lot quicker at the weekend because she will go out there with all guns blazing. She has prepared for this race for the past three weeks and I know her body is in very good shape. It’s getting her mind right that’s important and we all know what she is capable of doing in a championships event, which really this is.”

Meanwhile, Sonia O’Sullivan, Chef de Mission for London 2012, predicts that Ireland will have somewhere between 17 and 33 athletes at the next Olympics, depending on qualification standards.

As a member of the Executive Committee she was at the top table for the annual general meeting of the Olympic Council of Ireland at the AVIVA Stadium. There, delegates were told by Honorary General Secretary Dermot Sherlock that details of regulations for each sport on the Olympic Games programme will be finalised shortly by the International Olympic Committee following consultations with the National Olympic Committees and relevant International Federations.

O’Sullivan, a silver medallist at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, said that pending the publication of the standards it was all about planning.

“We are working on plans – it is mainly about plans at this stage – and looking at possible training venues and things like that,” she said. “It’s not easy to make concrete plans until you know the athletes and a lot of that’s not going to happen until 2011. I think that’s when things will really kick into action.

“We don’t know as of yet what the qualification standards will be. It’s all down to the IOC and they have to wait until they have feedback from all the relevant bodies and federations.

“Obviously it’s different for different sports. Some sports qualify from a lot further out.”

As regards athletics, O’Sullivan referred back to the European championships in Barcelona and pointed out that it was very difficult to have everybody competing well at the same time.

“I think you have to look at potentially how many you have on the team,” she said. “Last time (Beijing 2008) there was possibly 17 on the team and then in Barcelona there was the highest ever number of athletes on the Irish team – 33 in the end – so we are looking at somewhere between 17 and 33.”


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