Phil Healy from Ireland wins her semi-final of the women’s 400m ahead of Andrea Miklos from Romania (left) and Amarachi Pipi from Great Britain in Torun, Poland. Photo: Sam Barnes / Sports File
Chances are this is the biggest one in Phil Healy’s career. After two exquisitely executed 400 meter races yesterday in Torun, Poland, the Bandon AC athlete will wake up today to something she has long been destined to be: a European senior finalist.
At 26, Healys could be first big championship medal only two lightning laps away from her, and yet it’s unlikely that Femke Bol and Lieke Klaver from the Netherlands and Polish star Justyna Swiety-Ersetic will be incredibly difficult to beat. But Healy knows just as well as anyone the chaos that can arise in a 400-meter indoor space.
In her heat yesterday, Healy drove forward halfway and drove to victory at a controlled 52.00, a hundredth of a second behind her best life. In last night’s semifinals, she was only second halfway, but climbed forward in the home straight and prevailed by six thousandths of a second to victory in 52.41 seconds.
“I could feel the other athletes around me, but I didn’t give in, I made it to the final,” she said. “I wasn’t at the front of the bell, but Shane (McCormack) told me to sit back, I had the gears and when I was on the other side I knew I could take it. I’m just buzzing to come out with the win. “
And now she has a chance that comes once or twice in a career. “Anything can happen in the final,” she said. “You have nothing to lose so I’m just looking forward to getting out.”
In the men’s 1500m final last night, Andrew Coscoran and Paul Robinson did well again, finishing sixth and ninth respectively. It was the first time since 1995 that two Irish athletes have contested a 1,500-meter indoor final at a major championship. Nobody on the field had an answer to the impressive pace of Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who celebrated an easy win with 3: 37.56, but the 20-year-old Norwegian was disqualified shortly afterwards for stepping into the line in a corner.
Marcin Lewandowski from Poland was upgraded to gold in 3: 38.06, while the Spaniard Jesus Gomez took silver in 3: 38.47. Coscoran scored shortly after in 3: 40.38 with his training partner at the Dublin Track Club, Robinson, in 3: 40.74.
Teenage star Cian McPhillips announced his arrival with an impressive performance in the men’s 800m. The 18-year-old Longford effortlessly advanced to the semifinals in 1: 49.98.
“I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, but luckily I did it on the last lap,” said McPhillips, who said he wasn’t nervous in his first senior championship. “The 800s semifinals are always brutal, but I’ll go out and see what I can do.” He is joined by two-time European indoor medalist Mark English, who has weathered a slim reputation in his heat to get in 1: 49.79 to move forward. John Fitzsimons retired after 1: 51.00 and was fifth.
Nadia Power marched into the women’s 800 meter semi-finals with an assured result in yesterday’s heats. The 23-year-old positioned herself in the slipstream of the leaders and held off belated attacks from behind to finish second in 2: 03.16. There was a heartbreak for the medal hope Síofra Cléirigh-Buttner, who was eliminated after fourth place in 2: 04.47.
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