WHEN Steven Colvert, a relative newcomer to the sport of athletics, develops the strength to see the race out, he is going to be a formidable force in 200m running.
The Mullingar teenager — he will be 20 in a month’s time — showed a sharp competitive edge until a combination of inexperience and lack of power found him out deep in the finishing straight and he faded to finish seventh in his first round heat of the men’s 200m yesterday.
The race was won by one of the medal favourites, Jaysuma, Saidy Ndure, in 20.60 secs with Colvert seventh in 21.14. It was outside the pb which he set at 20.90 secs to win the Belgian championships earlier this month and the right to join Paul Hession in the men’s 200m here.
In Belgium he also posted 10.62 to win his heat of the 100m to underscore his potential over both distances. The previous weekend he was runner-up in both the 100m and 200m at the national championships — he was bronze medallist in both last year.
“My start was a lot better than I had expected — within the first three or four strides I had gained on Johan Wissman outside me but coming into the straight it’s where the power and experience comes in,” he said. “I had to run my hardest while I am here and the rest of the guys can cruise along.
“Give me another year or two. This is only my second year in the sport. Come 2014 I hope to be a lot stronger but my goals for now are the Euro under-23s and hopefully making a final there.”
Last year was his first full year in athletics. During his school days at St Finian’s College he slipped through the Harriers’ net despite the fact that his grandfather, Brendan, has a long association with the Mullingar club.
“I suppose I never had much of an interest in the sport when I was younger. “It’s just when I got to UCD — I knew I was fast at secondary school — so I decided to try and progress at university level and see how far I’d go and I just came on in leaps and bounds. I had to learn all the basics — stuff that guys who are here at this stage now it’s just like breathing to them — so for me everything is still a learning curve.”
Alistair Cragg qualified for tomorrow evening’s final of the men’s 5,000m as next fastest after battling his way through torrential rain to finish sixth in his heat in 13:37.66.
After leading for much of the race he was overtaken by the ex-Ethiopian, Hayle Ibrahimov, Alemayuehu Bezabeh who is another African running for Spain and Chris Thompson (Great Britain), silver medallist in the 10,000m, and drifted back to sixth. Ibrahimov set an Azerbaijan national record at 13:32.98 to win.
“I think I may have given my all back there — I hope not — and I’m not happy, obviously,” said Cragg. “It was a lot windier than I thought and I was out there working for about 2k in the middle but we had not broken away and mentally I was psyching myself out with 2k to go.”
After a spirited first half of the race, Mark Christie, faded to finish 11th in his heat in 14:12.60 which was 35 seconds slower than his best time. The 10,000m champion, Mo Farah, won in 13:38.26.
“It’s very disappointing because I ran 14 mins in training. I thought I was in great shape coming here but I had no energy at all over the last three laps.”
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