Nadia Power and Eilish Flanagan produced historic medal winning performances at the European U23 Athletic Championships to help claim Ireland’s most successful U23 Championships to date.
Templeogue AC’s Nadia Power won bronze in the 800m whilst Tyrone’s Eilish Flanagan from Carmen Runners club, came away with a silver medal in the 3,000m steeplechase.
First up was Power who had been in fine form coming into the race. Power had qualified for the final after running 2:05.36 in the semis. From the offset the athletes took a tactical approach and Power shrewdly positioned herself near the front runners. There was a brief moment of drama near the bend, as Power used her arms to protect herself and her running line.
With the final stretch beckoning, team GB’s Jemma Reekie made the first move. Reekie crossed the line in first place with her GB teammate Ellie Baker following in second. There was a huge battle for the third and final spot on the podium as Power showed incredible guts and determination to hold out on the home straight to fend off Slovakia’s Gabriela Gajanova and cross the line in 2:06.68.
Power was initially disqualified for the incident on the bend and faced an anxious wait on as her team appealed the decision. Justice and common sense prevailed however as the appeal by the Irish team operations manager Richard Rodgers and performance manager Paul McNamara was successful.
Power spoke after the decision to disqualify her was revoked.
“I was over the moon after the race and someone called me over to say I was disqualified,” said Power. “I’m really grateful to the staff of Athletics Ireland who fought for it.”
Moments after the success in the 800m, Ireland were celebrating more success but this time in the 3,000m steeplechase. Eilish Flanagan who is returning from a hugely successful scholarship with the Adams State University Grizzlies in America, came away with silver.
This was Flanagan’s first ever major track championship and she fought through the field to comfortably take second place and recorded a lifetime best of 9:51.72. Denmark’s Anna Moller won gold and set a new championship record of 9:27.31.
Flanagan couldn’t hide her excitement after her sublime performance.
“I can’t get over it, it’s surreal.”
“To think five years ago I’d be here with a silver medal was never in my picture. I would have been over the moon with the top five, but I thought why not do my country proud by getting a medal, so I dug in deep.”
The success see’s Ireland’s medal count to eight at these championship since it was started in 1997. The last time Ireland won a medal at these championships was in 2011.
Across the globe, Ciara Mageean ran a new personal best in the mile as she clocked a fantastic 4:19.03 in Monaco. Mageean is set to take part in the London Diamond League this Saturday as she continues to work towards the World Championships in Doha, which is set to take place from the 27 September.
In the same race, Sifan Hassan set a new world record. Hassan shattered the 23-year-old mile world record with a time of 4:12.33.