Coach Dakin urges Gillick to get off to a flier

COACH Nick Dakin is looking for a winning performance from David Gillick in this morning’s first-round heats of the 400m at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona to ensure a good lane draw for the semi-finals.

“If he wins his heat it will set him up nicely,” the Loughborough coach said. “A win would ensure he gets a decent lane for the semi-finals and that’s very important. He is in very good shape, looking to get through the heats, get a good lane for the semi-finals and then progress through the competition.”

The Irishman, a double European indoor champion, has been targeting the European championships sincefinishing sixth in the final of the 400m at the world championships in Berlin last year.

The last time he put his foot on the track here at the Olympic Stadium he won the race in 44.95 secs, dipping under the 45 second mark for the second time this season.

He ran 44.98 on his first outing in Madrid where he broke 45 (44.77) seconds for the first time in his career last season. He won the first of hisEuropean indoor championships in Madrid as well so Spain has been a happy hunting ground for the Dubliner.

He has drawn Lane 3 for his opening run this morning and while it might not be the prime lane it is good enough in a heat that he is well capable of winning.

Gordon Kennedy, from Tullamore, has not been so lucky in avoiding the big guns and also gets Lane 3 in Heat 1 with Gillick’s training partner, Martyn Rooney (Great Britain) in the outside lane.

Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers) has an outstanding opportunity of qualifying from Heat 4.

In Lane 6 he enjoys one of the prime lanes with just six competitors in the field and the first four to qualifyautomatically.

“It’s all about performing on the day and I think they all have a chance of progressing,” Irish Team Manager, Patsy McGonagle, said.

“Of course it is very important for David Gillick to perform. He needs to win his heat and then win his semi-final to ensure that he gets the benefit of a good lane draw each time. To do that he is going to have to finish out his races. He cannot afford to ease back.”

There was another bit of good news for Robert Heffernan on the eve of the 20k Walk with the withdrawal of the Olympic and world champion, Valeriy Borchin.

No reason was given for the withdrawal of the young Russian sensation other than he was not declared last night. Russia will still have a strong say in the distribution of the medals with Stalislav Emelyanov and Andrey Krivov in the field of 27.

Brona Furlong has drawn Lane 5 for this morning’s first round heats of the women’s 400m hurdles. Justine Kinney and Michell Carey, however, have landed Lane 1 the first and second heats.

The first round heats of the men’s 1,500m and the women’s 400m have been scrapped. Thomas Chamney and Rory Chesser now go through to the semi-finals of the 1,500m while Joanne Cuddihy goes through to the semi-finals of the women’s 400m.


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