English takes silver for Ireland

Mark English finished second in the final of the men's 800m
Mark English finished second in the final of the men's 800m

Mark English landed Ireland's first medal at the European Indoor Championships as he timed his finish to perfection to take silver in the 800 metres in Prague.

The 21-year-old, a European bronze medallist outdoors last summer, chased down Thijmen Kupers and dipped to cross the line in one minute 47.20 seconds, edging out the Dutchman by 0.05secs.

Pre race favourite Poland's Marcin Lewandowski was the convincing winner in 1:46.67.

English promised to celebrate his silver medal. 'I will celebrate tonight because you do not get a medal every season.

'I had a lot of energy at the end. I was trying to keep in line and keep in touch with Lewandowski because he is very hard to pass. The first two laps were close to 50 seconds so quite fast but I kept accelerating and found the energy.

'We did not have much time to relax. Usually there is a day rest between the semifinals and finals in the outdoor season but I have to get used to it,' he added.

He is the first Irish athlete to win a medal in the 800m at the European Indoor championships since the late Noel Carroll, who dominated the event in the latter half of the sixties, winning three titles in a row between 1966 and 1968 as well as a bronze medal in 1969.

At the last European indoors in 2013 Ireland won two bronze medals - with both Ciarán O Lionáird and Fionnuala Britton finishing third in the men's and women's 3,000m respectively.

Later in the 1500m final John Travers finished a credible seventh in 3:41.50.