Mark English (Finn Valley AC) and Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC) will be in action in the early hours of Friday morning on Day Seven of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
English will be aiming to make the world final in the Men’s 800m when he takes to the track at 3:18am Irish Time in the last semi-final of the event. The Donegal’s confidence will be soaring following a superb performance last night in the heat’s where he qualified to the next round as the third fastest qualifier.
Mark English to race in World Semi-Final
English ran an excellent Season’s Best of 1:44:76 just 0.05s outside his own national record to advance. It is likely that he will have to run faster again to make the final with only the top two in each semi-final and two fastest non-automatic qualifiers from the three races making the final. Marco Arop (Canada) is the fastest in the field this year with a Season’s Best of 1.43.61. Benjamin Robert (France) is the other man in the field who has gone under 1.44 in his career.
Before that Shanahan will make her World Championships debut in the Women’s 800m heats. The Cork woman takes to the Hayward Field track at 1:50am in the final heat of six. It has been a remarkable year for Shanahan who broke the national record in the event back in May clocking a time of 1.59.42.
Shanahan controlled the race at the National Senior Championships at the end of last month to take gold. Her last race came at the Morton Games where she ran 2.03.57 to finish second in wet conditions before she withdrew from the Cork City Sports.
The 25-year-old will need to be in the top three in her heat to secure automatic passage to the world semi-final, something which she will hope she can achieve. Two other athletes in the field have gone faster than Shanahan this season. Mary Moraa (Kenya) has a best time this season and PB of 1.57.45, while Natoya Goule (Jamaica) has also gone under 1.59 this summer.
Speaking to the Irish Runner after her race at Morton Games, Shanahan outlined her hopes for the World Championships.
“I’m in a weird position this year having qualified automatically so if I could dip under two minutes again that would be great, but championship races tend to be tactical so it’s all about getting out of those heats and seeing where we can go from there.”
The World Athletics Championships is broadcast live on BBC TV and live streamed on the World Athletics YouTube