So who’s watching the athletics? I’m fortunate to have a foot in both the Irish and Brit camps of course. And as I’m presently resting between careers I’m able to catch some of the morning coverage from Berlin on the Beeb as well.
Far and away the Irish highlight so far is Olive Loughnane’s silver medal in the 20k walk. Far and few are Irish medals at global championships and this one was greeted with great delight. After her 7th placing in the Beijing Olympics Olive was Ireland’s best medal bet going into these championships, but still only an outside chance. The result was announced at Tullamore on Sunday in the middle of the race walking and I heard it said it gave all the competitors a lift.
The other Irish hopes are Paul Hession (200m) and David Gillick (400m). The Hesh was agonisingly just one place off taking part in the final in Beijing and, after negotiating the first round safely and with several no-shows (including Gay and Chambers) he has high hopes of making the last eight this time. Gillick, another outside bet for a medal, looked laboured to me in qualifying – though others say he looked comfortable. Meanwhile Thomas Chamney of Crusaders ran a less than clever 1500m qualifying round to finish 7th. Easy for me sitting here I know but I suspect Thomas would agree. However I’m backing our boy to do far better at his favoured distance of 800m later.
Meanwhile the Brits are having a mixed time of it. Jessica Ennis has quickly replaced Steph Twell as the golden girl with her astonishing win in the heptathlon. This morning Twell had a disastrous run in the 1500m which may just be beneficial for her in the long run as she can adjust to senior athletics with rather less media pressure on her shoulders. Goldie Sayers and Carl Myerscough disappointed again though at least Sayers had the excuse of coming back off a significant injury. Lisa Dobriskey looked class in qualifying.
All three Brits are through to the semis of the 400m with Michael Bingham looking the pick of these. Marilyn Okoro and the lovely Jenny Meadows are in the final of the 800m. I wonder if either can find an inspired PB and grab a medal – the event is wide open with Jelimo crashing out.
David Greene is a definite good bet in the 400mH though Marlon Devonish – who I saw win the 2003 world indoor title in Birmingham, will be happy just to reach the semis of the 200m.
In the meantime I had a worrying non-run this morning. Not having been 100% well for a couple of days I had no longer set off on an easy run than my legs turned to rubber. This does not bode well.