The opening day of the European Athletics Championships marked the crowning of another Irish world champion. Olive Loughnane was today retrospectively awarded the gold medal from the 2009 20km Walk. She was awarded the medal in a ceremony outside the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam and joins Rob Heffernan as the second Irish Walk World Champion.
Fionnuala McCormick managed a heart-breaking fourth place in her 10,000m final, matching her best Outdoor European Championships performance in 2012. McCormick, formerly Britton, is a double European Cross Country Champion. She was the only Irish athlete to compete in a final on the opening day of the European Championships, alongside Tara Jameson who finished 14th in the same final.
Thomas Barr was the most impressive Irish athlete competing in qualification heats today. Barr won his 400m hurdles heat in a time of 50.17. He posted the second-fasted time across all four heats with a strong sprint in the final 100m. Paul Byrne finished a notable fourth, but failed to join Barr in the 400m semi-finals.
Sinead Denny was the first Irish athlete to taste success in her 400m heat and qualifying for the semi-finals, while Irish teammate Claire Mooney, participating in her first European Athletics Championships, couldn’t make it through her heat.
There were also mixed-fortunes for Irish athletes in the men’s 400m. David Gillick, returning from long-term injury, and Craig Lynch finished eighth and seventh in their respective heats. Brian Gregan ran an impressive 47.02 to finish fifth in his heat, going through to the semi-finals as a fastest runner-up.
Thomas Cotter couldn’t keep with the fast pace of his 3000m and Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner finished fifth in the 800m heats, both failing to qualify for the next round from their respective fields.
Coverage of the European Athletics Championships continues on RTÉ 2 tomorrow from 14:30 and you can follow @irishathletics and the European Athletics website for updates on the rest of the championships.