Irish 400m record holder David Gillick will don a green singlet for the first time in four years this morning.
32-year old Gillick, who came out of retirement earlier this year, has not represented Ireland since forming the second leg of the 4x400m relay quartet at the 2012 European championships in Helsinki.
Drawn out in lane eight for the second of this morning’s men’s individual 400m heats at the European championships in Amsterdam, it is likely that Gillick will have to better his season’s best of 46.44 if he is to secure one of the four automatic qualification spots up for grabs in each of the three heats.
Brian Gregan, a semi-finalist in the one-lap event in 2014, is drawn in lane three, while Craig Lynch, competing at this level for the first time following his lifetime-best performance of 46.40 at the recent national championships, runs in heat one.
One of the few Irish medal hopefuls in Amsterdam, 400m hurdler Tom Barr, is in action during the evening session. The Waterford native, drawn in lane eight of heat one, has been left frustrated by an injury-ravaged season with his successful outing in Santry a week and a half ago marking his first outdoor race of 2016. The 23-year old, despite this limited build-up, should still feature at the business end of 400m hurdles.
His training partner Paul Byrne is making his senior debut today and is drawn in heat two. Byrne is reaping the benefits of his move to Limerick to train alongside the Irish record holder, but will need to improve on his personal best of 50.72 if he’s to progress to the next round.
Tomas Cotter of Dunleer AC makes his senior championship debut in the 3,000m steeplechase semi-finals. The Louth native has been based in the United States the last number of years and made an NCAA final for Wichita State University.
Claire Mooney and Sinead Denny, on track for the heats of the 400m shortly after noon, will be looking to build on their impressive seasons to date. 24-year old Mooney has returned from St John’s University in New York where she has enjoyed a breakthrough season, the highlight of which was her 53.17 personal best back in April. Sinead Denny, meanwhile, has gone from strength to strength over the last number of years under the guidance of Paul Opperman.
Siofra Cleirigh Buttner is another competing in Amsterdam off the back of a progressive couple of months. The 20-year old Villanova student dominated the 800m final at the national championships and that front-running performance, along with her personal best run of 2.02.37 last month, was enough to ensure her place on the team. Cleirigh Buttner is drawn in heat four alongside Ukranian Nataliya Lupu and Pole Joanna Jó´zwik who finished sixth and seventh respectively in last year’s World final - the first four advance from each heat.
Wicklow pair Fionnuala McCormack, nee Britton, and Tara Jameson will toe the start line for the women’s 10,000m final. Two-time European Cross Country Champion McCormack has a best of 31.29.22 and finished an agonising fourth back in 2012. Jameson, meanwhile, is yet another member of the Irish team making her senior debut.
Women’s 400m heats: 12.10pm
Men’s 400m heats: 12.35pm
400m hurdles heats: 4.05pm
3,000m steeplechase semi-finals: 4.55pm
800m heats: 5.25pm
10,000m final: 6pm.
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