By Feidhlim Kelly
John Fitzsimons crowned a superb European U20 Championships for Ireland in Grosseto, Italy with a sensational bronze in the men’s 800m today (July 23).
Fitzsimons (Kildare) was ranked 20th going into the championships and scored a surprise bronze in 1:49.15. The Kildare man ran a personal best of 1:48.68 seconds to qualify for the final as a fastest loser and ran brilliant tactical race in the final to win bronze.
The women’s 4x100m relay team of Molly Scott (St Laurence O’Toole), Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport), Gina Akpe-Moses (Blackrock-Louth) and Ciara Neville (Emerald) were a battling fourth in the final in a time of 44.47 seconds.
The men’s 4x100m relay team of Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrock), Cillin Greene (Galway City Harriers), Paul McDermott (Donore Harriers) and Joseph Ojewumi (Tallaght) put in a spirited display to finish 7 in their heat in 40.89 seconds. After some slick changeovers McDermott pulled a hamstring mid-race to hand over to Ojewumi on anchor.
Nadia Power (Templeogue) finished 11th in the women’s 1500m final in 4:28.60.
Ireland have won 12 medals previously in the history of this championship and added three more to that tally in Italy along with multiple finalists, national records and personal bests.
Championship by numbers
Medals – 3
Gina Akpe-Moses (Blackrock-Louth) gold in the 100m
Michaela Walsh (Swinford) bronze in the hammer
John Fitzsimons (Kildare) bronze in the 800m
Finalists and top 8s
Gina Akpe-Moses (Blackrock-Louth) 100m – 1st
Ciara Neville (Emerald) 100m – 7th
Nadia Power (Templeogue) 1500m – 11th
Women’s 4x100m relay (Molly Scott, Sharlene Mawdsley, Gina Akpe-Moses, Ciara Neville) 4th
Christopher O’Donnell (North Sligo) 400m – 6th
Elizabeth Morland (Cushinstown) and Kate O’Connor (Dundalk St Gerard’s) heptathlon – 5th and 8th
Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrock) 200m – 6th
Michaela Walsh (Swinford) hammer and shot put – 3rd and 7th
James Edgar (City of Lisburn) 5,000m – 11th
Elizabeth Morland (Cushinstown) heptathlon – 5,801 points – senior, U23 and U20
Christopher O’Donnell (North Sligo) 400m – 46.54 – U20