DAVID GILLICK ran to within two hundredths of a second of his national record to win his semi-final in 44.79 secs and earn his place in tomorrow’s men’s 400m final which promises to be the race of the European championships.
After taking time to snatch a look at Jonathan Burlee (Belgium) win his heat in 44.71, with the Frenchman Leslie Djhone second in 44.87 secs and Martyn Rooney (Great Britain) third in 45.00, Gillick responded in style.
When it appeared as if the American-born Great Britain athlete Michael Bingham would steal victory the Dubliner dug deep for a last-ditch effort to snatch the win on the line.
Bingham’s reaction told it all. He stormed through the mixed zone, never looking left or right, and gave no post-race interviews. Gillick, on the other hand, stood 10 feet tall as he explained how it had all gone so right.
“It was very important that I carried that out this evening,” he said. “My coach Nick Dakin said there were two important things — discipline in the blocks and then control it. It was also very important I ran my own race. I knew Bingham would come up inside me because he had me to chase and it was important that when he did I just stayed relaxed.
“I knew I was catching him and catching and I knew I had him but I just wanted to make sure. Jonathan Borlee looked very good in his semi-final and we know he is in form and there are a couple of other guys running well but the whole thing is I just want to come out and run to my potential and I believe I have very, very good potential and it’s just about executing that like I did this evening and if that gets me gold, silver or bronze I’ll take it.”
The performance earned him a prime lane for tomorrow night’s final where he is drawn in Lane 4 with Leslie Djhone in five, Kevin Borlee (Belgium), six, Vladimir Krasnov (Russia) seven and Bingham eight. Jonathan Borlee is in Lane 3 while Martyn Rooney is unlikely to make a major impact from Lane 1 and Kacper Kozlowski (Poland) is in Lane 2.
Jason Smyth ended his great adventure in style when he finished fourth behind three of the medal favourites in his semi-final of the 100m in 10.46 secs with four athletes who have run faster behind him.
“Things have gone well,” the double Paralympic gold medallist said. “Obviously when you look back the race you always wish you had gone a bit better. Looking at the semi-final I was ranked fifth so it was nice to come out and go a place above where I was ranked.
“If I had to look back at where I was last year or the year before and thought where I was going to be this year I would never have thought things would have gone so well.”
Joanne Cuddihy admitted she had run far from her best race after finishing fourth in her semi-final of the women’s 400m.
“I ran badly,” she said. “The standard across the board was a little bit lower than I expected but it really would have taken me to run a perfect race and I didn’t do that. I just changed my speed too many times. I didn’t have confidence in my own race plan.”
Thomas Chamney went into last night’s semi-finals of the 1,500m after being unwell for the previous three days but he was competitive for most of the race, running in second place and challenging before fading to finish ninth in 3:43.60.
Rory Chesser, on his championship debut, finished 10th in his heat in 3:43.01.
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