IRELAND’S DERVAL O’ROURKE booked her placed in the 60m hurdles semi-final at the World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, today.
The Cork native recorded a time of 8.19, finishing fourth in her heat to gain a fastest qualifier spot. World outdoor champion Sally Pearson of Australia won the race in 7.85 and O’Rourke goes into tomorrow’s semi-final as ninth fastest overall. The race is scheduled for 3.10pm Irish time.
“I thought there was a flash start, so I got out and then I felt I held back a little bit as I thought it was going to be called back, in 60m hurdles it’s hard to get that momentum back but that’s racing, these things happen,” O’Rourke told Athletics Ireland, speaking of a problem that has hindered athletes at these championships due to the sound of the gun echoing.
Earlier, Ciaran O’Lionaird had a morning to forget as he crashed out in the heats of the men’s 1500m, finishing 11th in a time of 3:50.12, over eight seconds behind race winner Ozbilen Ilham Tanui of Turkey (3:41.93).
With less than five months to go until the start of the Olympics, this morning’s run will be an unexpected setback for O’Lionaird, who had otherwise started the season in encouraging form.
The Cork native chose to run the race’s opening laps at the rear of the field before moving up into contention with five laps to go.
But as the pace increased, O’Lionaird was gradually picked off by those behind him and crossed the line in second-last position, short of his indoor personal best of 3:48.72.
O’Lionaird is one of just three Irish athletes in Istanbul for this year’s championships, which run until Sunday afternoon.
Derval O’Rourke begins her challenge in the 60m hurdles later this afternoon in a highly competitive heat which sees her up against world outdoor champion Sally Pearson of Australia.
O’Rourke’s last run at the world indoor championships was in 2006, when she won gold. Her heat begins at 15:00 Irish time this afternoon.
Down’s Ben Reynolds must wait until tomorrow to make his first appearance in an Irish singlet. Reynolds, who switched allegiances from Great Britain & Northern Ireland, goes in the heats of the men’s 60m hurdles.