IRELAND’S LEADING MEDAL hope at the European Track and Field Championships in Helsinki. Fionnula Britton, finished a disappointing fourth in her 10,000m final.
With four laps to go, the Kilcoole native trailed the Portuguese leader, Dulce Felix, by close to 50 meters.
Known for her powerful running style, Britton appeared to have been unsettled by the tactical nature of the race having led early on only to slip back amongst the pack.
The 27-year-old looked slightly off the pace from the half-way-point on, though did make up some ground in the final lap to take fourth comfortably with a time of 32 minutes and 5.54 seconds.
By that stage, though, Felix was coasting and the 29-year-old took gold in 31.44.75.
Britain’s Jo Pavey finished powerfully to take silver in a time of 31.49.03, two seconds ahead of Olha Skrypak.
“I am really upset with that,” said Britton, “fourth is the worst place to finish, no one wants to finish fourth.
“I can’t really say what went wrong, I knew the pace was going to be slow, that’s why I picked it up. I didn’t want everyone just sitting on my shoulder, waiting to kick. I need to try and get this out of my system now; I have another 10,000m in a month at the Olympics.”