Gina Akpe Moses is Ireland’s latest gold medal winner after taking the 100m title at the European U20 Track and Field Championships in Grosseto, Italy this afternoon.
Running from lane 5, Akpe-Moses, from the Blackrock club in Dundalk, though now based in England, won a closely fought race in 11.71 secs after showing solid form in both the heats and semi-finals. Although her time was slower than her best of 11.56 secs, it was enough to see off the challenge of Germany’s Keshia Kwadwo, who crossed the line in 11.75 secs, and Ingvild Meinseth of Norway who finished in 11.77 secs. Finishing seventh was Ciara Neville of Emerald AC in 11.98 secs.
After an exhausting two days of competition, Elizabeth Morland of Cushinstown AC improved her own Irish heptathlon record to 5,801 points for fifth place. Finishing eighth with a personal best score of 5,759 points was Kate O’Connor of St Gerard’s Dundalk who, at 16 years of age, still has a few years left in this age group. Morland began today with a personal best 6.01m in the long jump and then improved on her javelin best with a throw of 43.74m. O’Connor leapt to a personal best 7.74m in the long jump and proved the fastest of the two in the final 800m, clocking a respectable 2:15.87. For the overall title, Alina Stuhl of the Ukraine with 6,381 points narrowly beat Switzerland’s Geraldine Ruckstuhl on 6,357 points – a Swiss record.
Thrower Michaela Walsh from Swinford had a busy morning qualifying for the women’s shot with a 15.39 effort and then winning her qualifying group in the hammer with a throw of 62.33m.
Topping the list of qualifiers for tomorrow’s (17.20) 400m final was Christopher O’Donnell from North Sligo. In the second of three heats, O’Donnell was pushed to a personal best by Jonathan Sacoor of Belgium with the pair given the same time of 46.78 secs. His reward is lane three tomorrow.
In the men’s 800 heats, John Fitzsimons from Kildare AC snatched an automatic qualifying place when he finished third in his heat in a time of 1:54.44. Making the women’s 1500m final with a personal best of 4:22.82 was Nadia Power of Templeogue AC.
Molly Scott of St Lawrence O’Toole’s ran a personal best of 14.07 secs for third in the 100m hurdles heats but couldn’t repeat that in the semi-finals later in the day when she finished sixth and narrowly failed to make the final on time.
In the day’s final races, Sharlene Mawdsley of Newport made it through to the women’s 200m semi-finals, finished second in her heat in 24.12 secs, while Raheny’s Mark Smyth and Cillin Greene of GCH both progressed from the men’s heats.
100m final, 1 Gina Akpe-Moses 11.71, 2 Keshia Kwadwo (Ger) 11.75, 3 Ingvild Meinseth (Nor) 11.77…7 Ciara Neville 11.98.
200m: Ht 1 7, Aoife Lynch (Donore Hrs) 25.12, Ht 2 , 2 Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport)24.12 (Q)
800m: Ht 1, 4 Rose Finnegan (Bohermeen) 2:10.74; Ht 2, 5 Alex O’Neill (St. Cronan’s), 2:12.42, Ht 3, 4 Carla Sweeney (Rathfarnham WSAF) 2:11.98
1500m: Ht 1, 5 Nadia Power (Templeogue) 4:22.82 (PB) (q); 4 Jodie McCann (DSD) 4:50.37. Ht 2, 10 Emma O’Brien (Sli Cualann), 4:29.34.
100mH: Ht 5, 3 Molly Scott (St LOT) 14.07 (PB) (Q); SF2, 6 14.17 secs.
Shot: Gp A: 5 Michaela Walsh (Swinford) 15.39 (q). Hammer: Gp A: 1 Michaela Walsh (Swinford) 62.33 (Q)
Heptathlon – Long jump: Gp A, 6 Morland 6.01(853) PB; 11 O’Connor 5.75 (774) PB. Javelin, Gp A: 6 Morland 43.74 (739) (PB), 7 O’Connor 43.30 (731). 800m: Ht 3 – 5 O’Connor 2:15.87 (881), 7 Morland 2:23.93 (771). Final standings: 1 Alina Stuhl (UKR) 6381, 2 Geraldine Ruckstuhl 6357 (NR), 3 Sarah Lagger (AUT) 6083, 4 Niamh Emerson (GBR) 6013, 5 Elizabeth Morland 5801 (NR), 8 Kate O’Connor 5759 (PB)
200m heats– Ht 1, 4 Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrock) 21.63 (Q). Ht 4 Cillin Greene (GCH) 21.50 (Q)
400m SF2, 1 Chris O’Donnell (Nth Sligo) 46.78 (Q) (PB)
800m: Ht 3, 7 Conall Hayes (Le Cheile) 1:53.38.Ht 5, 3 John Fitzsimons (Kildare) 1:54.44 (Q)
Pole Vault: Gp B, =11 Sean Roth (DSD) 4.70m.