These are the results of the Irish athletes on day 1 of the European Track and Field Championships in Helsinki....
Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers) wins the first heat in the mens 400m in a new personal best time of 45.63 seconds. This is an improvement on his previous best time of 45.91. (Update....some of the winners of other heats have been disqualified. Brian has the fastest time from the heats).......Post race interview....."I'm really happy that I managed to get a PB on this tough track. Now I'm just going to relax and chill out before trhe next round."
Jessie Barr (Ferrybank AC), sister of Thomas finished 3rd in the second heat of the women’s 400m hurdles in a time of 56.30. Her PB is 56.16 which was set last May and had moved her to third on the Irish all time lists.
Joanne Cuddidy is disqualified after it looked like she had qualified in 3rd place in her heat (52.20).
From Athletics Ireland...."Joanne Cuddihy is unfortunately disqualified after stepping out of her lane in heat 4 of the women's 400m. Team management and Joanne viewed the tape which showed she clearly stepped inside lane four. Joanne accepted the decision but is understandable devastated. If it wasn't for the stumble Cuddihy believed she could of won the heat. She will now turn her intentions to the relay for redemption."
So that's the end of the first day of the European Track and Field Championships. From an Irish point of view, it was a day of mixed fortunes. Jason Smyth bowed out in the 100m semi-final even though on paper at least, he was fast enough to make the final. Joanne Cuddihy was disqualified in her heat of the 400m when she put her foot out of lane. Supposedly, the track is built around a football pitch and as a result has some tight corners. Indeed, throughout the day, there was a significant number of athletes disqualified due to lane infringements.
With due respect to St.Finbarr's AC, the term 'Go on the Barr's' has taken one a completely new lease of life with the brother and sister pair of Thomas and Jessie Barr both making it through their heats ;o)
Performance of the day though must go to Brian Gregan who not only won his heat in the mens 400m but also set a PB in the process. As the fastest qualifier in the heats, he must be seen now as a possible medal hope.
More action tomorrow...