DAVID GILLICK installed himself as the favourite for the gold medal in the 400m at the upcoming European championships when he posted the fastest time of the year by a European one-lap runner at 44.98 secs in the Swiss town of La Chaux-De-Fonds on Sunday.
Almost a year ago to the day the two-time European indoor champion made his big breakthrough when he ran 44.77secs in Madrid and he went on break the 45 second barrier once more before finishing sixth in the final of the 400m at the world championships in Berlin.
And on Sunday he once again beat the 2006 European bronze medallist, Leslie Djhone, another expected medal contender for Barcelona, who ended up a remote second in 45.25.
Djhone, a former European U23 champion, with gold relay medals from a variety of championships, was fifth in the Beijing Olympic final and finished eighth at the world championships in Berlin last year.
Gillick, who was left out of the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Rome, is not included among the preliminary entries for Lausanne on Thursday night but this could change over the coming days.
Paul Hession goes in the 200m in Lausanne where he is included in the entries for the A Race this year.
Thomas Chamney who was listed as a non-finisher in the 800m race in Madrid on Friday night had the result corrected over the weekend when he was placed seventh in 1:46.1.
The Crusaders athlete fell at the start of the race which was won by South African, Mbulaeni Mulaudze (1:45.1) on a night when a thunderstorm delayed the meet for an hour-and-a-half but he got back up and finished seventh.
Meanwhile, Paul Hession feels that Athletics Ireland should send a men’s 4x100m relay team to the European championships because they have the potential to qualify for London 2012.
“There is a really good possibility that we can get a good men’s relay team together,” he said. “It’s the first time I’d say that. Things are changing. Jason (Smyth) is running well – it’s always difficult for him to run relays because of his sight – but he runs the first leg and we just keep the baton changes safe.
“We did that in Budapest. The rest of the younger guys are starting to run quite well – a few guys running 10.6 – and they are all starting to push each other.
“We were a little bit disappointed we did not break 40 seconds in Budapest. I have never been on a team that broke 40 before and I really thought that we were going to break 40 this time. Our changes weren’t perfect and we didn’t have much practice but we ran 40.09.
“It would be great if they brought a team to Barcelona because we already have two sprinters going so they could take a chance on the two young guys and just get them living out of each other’s pockets leading up to it and me and Jason could just slot in.
“I’d love to be part of that.”
“I know John (Sheehan) is passionate about his relays and I have to agree with him that here is potential there. I personally think we will smash that record pretty soon.”
Hession said he is hoping to get in some training sessions with Jason Smyth at the holding camp in Murcia before the European championships.
“We have trained on the same track at the same time but we have never trained together,” he said. “Jason is an amazing talent and it would be nice to do some block work with him.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved