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More heartbreak for Fionnuala McCormack in Amsterdam

AthleticsBy Sunday World
A disappointed Fionnuala McCormack after she crossed the finish line in Amsterdam
A disappointed Fionnuala McCormack after she crossed the finish line in Amsterdam

FOR the second time in her career Fionnuala McCormack has narrowly missed out on a medal in the 10,000m at the European Athletic championships.

The Rio bound Wicklow athlete was fourth in the event in Amsterdam, four years after finishing in the same position in the race at the same championships in Helsinki.

She actually ran faster in tonight’s race but just missed out on the bronze in a race won by Kenyan-born Turkish athlete Yasemin Can, who broke away from the pack early in the 25 lap event and held off a late challenge from Portugal’s Duce Felix.

McCormack chased bronze medallist Karoline Grovdal of Norway all the way home, finishing in a time of 31:30.74, just over a second outside her personal best and knocking more than half a minute off her fastest run this year.  

At the 2012 championships she finished fourth in 32:05.54.

So on the night that Olive Loughnane finally received the gold medal she was awarded after the winner of the 20km walk at the 2009 World championships Olga Kaniskina from Russia was disqualified for a doping offence, McCormack came away disappointed.

However, her performance represents a timely boost both to her personally and to the Irish team in general ahead of next month’s Olympic Games in Rio.

McCormack has qualified to run in both the 10,000m and the marathon in Rio – the odds are that she will compete in the latter event.

Even though Ireland’s has qualified a record number of athletes for Rio the overall form of team members has been very patchy with two of the country’s brightest prospects, 800m runner Mark English and hurdler Thomas Barr missing significant chucks of the season due to injury.

Both made winning returns at the National Championships.

While English opted not to travel to Amsterdam Barr made the trip and received a huge boost today when he comfortably won his heat in the 400m hurdles and qualified for the semi-final.
 
Running a seasonal best of 50.17 seconds, the 23 year old Ferrybank athlete was the second fastest qualifier for the semi-finals.