Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Irish athletes at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul...March 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Irish athletes at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul...March 2012

The major international competition this weekend was the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey this weekend. A small team of just three Irish athletes made the trip with Derval O'Rourke and Ben Reynolds taking part in the 60m hurdles and Ciarán Ó Lionáird in the 1500m.

Despite the fact that it was a major event, some of the sprinting events were marred by poor acoustics. Several athletes complained that the sound coming from the loudspeaker behind the starting blocks was too low and the echo from the gunshot sounded like a second shot to indicate a false start. The American Kristi Castlin was disqualified from her 60-meter hurdles heat after stopping in her tracks as the rest of the pack took off toward the finish line. Sally Pearson, the 100-metre hurdles world champion, won her heat but she also thought there was a problem at the start. "I thought someone had false started. 'Oh crap, that wasn't me, was it?''' Pearson said. "But the girl next to me was starting so I just kept going myself. I don't know what they're going to do about that because it's really confusing.'' The men running the 60 metres also heard the repetitions off the walls, but they had the advantage of running after the women.

From an Irish point of view, it was a mixed bad of performances with just some regret over what might have been.

Derval O'Rourke was in one of the hardest heats of the 60m hurdles running 8.19 for 4th place and qualifying for the semi-finals as one of the fastest losers. In the semi, she finished in a seasons best time of 8.13 and 6th position (see pic) but unfortunately not fast enough to go through to the final.

Audio interview here...

In the 1500m, Ciarán Ó Lionáird had a disappointing run finishing in 11th place in the first heat with a time of 3:50.12 (Ignore the PB next to his time, that was a mistake by the IAAF) . To put that in context, Ciarán ran 3:37 in the final of the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea last year and his personal best outdoors is 3:34.

In an article in the Irish Times, Ian O'Riordan has a piece about his performance and why it was poor. He starts off with "Indeed because I’m not in Istanbul myself I don’t know who he’s blaming, although it’s surely only himself, and the complete breakdown in focus and race execution he so effectively demonstrated at the World Championships last August."....and then goes on to speculate as to what went wrong. You can read it HERE but I'm not sure if you'll be any the wiser as it seems to be mainly conjecture.

Whatever the reason for the poor run, his time of 3:50 says nothing about his current form. As recently as early February, he won a mile race...i.e. 1609 Boston in 3:56. At that pace, he would have done 1500m in 3:40 which would have easily won the heat in Istanbul on Friday.

It should be remembered that Ciarán is still only 22 years old and still 'learning' the ropes. As he has said in recent interviews, every race is a learning experience and his best years are still ahead. Eamonn Coghlan was 31 years old when he ran 3:49.78 to set a new indoor miles record and won the 5000m in the world championships in 1993.

Ben Reynolds was the third Irish athlete in action in Istanbul. He finished in 5th place in a time of 7.82 in the first heat of the mens 60m hurdles and went into the semi-finals as one of the fastest losers. On Sunday, he ran 7.80 and finished in 7th place and didn't make the finals.


James said...

I hope all is ok with Ciaran as he had has more than his fair share of knocks over the past five years.

I thought Ian O Riordan's article was pitiful where he quoted a throwaway tweet from Ciaran about crossants. I wonder if there is any link between this waste of newsprint and Ciaran's twitter account being off the air along with the site being down for maintenance ?

Here's hoping he can bounce back from this disappointment in the same way that he bounced back last year from the NCAAs.

He has been a breath of fresh air to athletics and an example to all trying to overcome injury and adversity.

Anonymous said...

The article by Ian is snide and unhelpful. It has an air of "who did he think he was anyway, that will knock him down a peg" about it. It's a dramatic u-turn from the sympathetic articles he wrote about Fagan's doping.
Ciaran believes he can medal in London. The minimum requirement for an athlete to reach his goals is the belief that these goals are possible. Ciaran shares his training/diet/hopes/aspirations/dreams with his followers on twitter. This honesty has endeared him to the Irish athletic community. To ridicule this ridicules all who follow him. It's something that Mo Farah, Jess Ennis and Usain Bolt all do. I know because I follow them all on twitter.

The Irish press would do well to stand behind one of Ireland's true medal hopefuls for the Summer. He had a bad day, they happen, we've all been there. Let's support him now and help him pick himself back up (for the millionth time - the true sign of a winner).
Mad-Len this Cork runner supports you!!

Anonymous said...

ian o'riordan really needs to sort himself out. he is a journo i have had a lot of time for but he really should give len a break. ian o'riordan ain't helping-one poor result from mad len and now he is rubbish? a bit unfair if you ask me