Sarah Lavin all but books Olympic place

Limerick hurdler Sarah Lavin produced the performance of her life over the weekend
Sarah Lavin all but books Olympic place

File picture of Sarah Lavin  Photo by Tomás Greally/Sportsfile

Limerick hurdler Sarah Lavin produced the performance of her life over the weekend to all but assure herself a place at the Tokyo Olympics. 

On Saturday night in Madrid, the Emerald AC athlete became only the second Irishwoman in history (after Derval O'Rourke) to break 13 seconds for 100m hurdles, clocking 12.95 to finish second at the Continental Tour event.

"It's been a dream for seven hard years to break 13 seconds," said Lavin, who was a European U20 silver medallist in 2013 but faced a nightmare run of injuries in the years that followed. She had been 40th in the 'Road to Tokyo' rankings before the race but will move up several places as a result of her breakthrough, with 40 spots on offer in her event in Tokyo.

Mark English continued his fine form at the same event, finishing second in a season's best of 1:45.22 in the 800m. While it was just shy of the automatic Olympic standard the Donegal man is set to secure his place next week via his world ranking. Eilish Flanagan moved closer to Olympic qualification by running 9:48.88 to finish fifth in the 3000m steeplechase, and a big run will be required at next weekend's national championships to book her spot in Tokyo.

The qualification race will also come down to the wire for Andrew Coscoran, who is just within the rankings cut-off for the men's 1500m. He boosted his chances over the weekend with a second-place finish in Lyon in 3:36.16. In Chorzow, Poland, yesterday Sarah Healy had another strong run, finishing third in a world-class 1500m field in 4:07.63, and the Dubliner looks set to secure Olympic qualification via her world ranking.

Back at home, Conor Cusack launched a championship record to take gold at the Irish U20 and U23 Championships in Santry, his 70.27m effort going close to Terry McHugh's Irish U20 record of 71.30m.

Rising star Israel Olatunde turned in a superb performance to win the U20 men's 100m title in 10.51, while Robert McDonnell was a class apart in the U20 men's 200m, clocking 20.93.

The Irish 4x400m relay of Eoin Kenny, Jack Mitchell, Jack Raftery, David Ryan secured the qualifying standard for next month's European U23 Championships, running 3:11.18.

Meanwhile many in athletics have been paying tribute to Billy Good, one of founding members of Bandon AC and longtime club president, who passed away on Saturday.

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