O’Loughlin defends his National 800m Championship crown

LOUIS O’Loughlin stormed to the 800m gold medal at the National Junior Track and Field Championships at Santry on Sunday.

The Clondalkin man, who qualified for the final earlier in the day by winning Heat Two in 2.01.45, made clear his intentions early on by moving into the lead at the 200m mark although the reigning champion did not have things all his own way.

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Clondalkin man Louis O'Loughlin of Donore Harriers celebrates after winning the Junior Men's 800m at the Irish Life Health National Junior Track and Field Championships at Morton Stadium (Image: Ben McShane/Sportsfile)

Jake Bagge of Ferrybank AC remained in close pursuit as they passed the 400m mark in 56 seconds and then the 600m in 1.23.

Indeed the two race leaders opened a gap on the rest of the field, with the Donore Harriers man only gaining a clear advantage over his rival in the closing 30 metres.

O’Loughlin’s winning time of 1.50.89 broke the championship record set as far back as 1999 while runner-up Bagge carded a PB time of 1.51.85, with Dylan McBride of City of Lisburn AC coming home third in 1.57.24.

Some 40 athletes contested the 3000m with 20 each in the A and B finals. Gavin Curtin (9.05.66) set a new personal best when placing second in the B Final behind Oisin Murray (9.04.91) of An Riocht AC.

In the medals race Abdel Laadjel (8.39.72) took silver, finishing second to Tadgh Donnelly (8.34.15) of Drogheda & District AC over the final 400 metres.

Laadjel ran in the middle of the pack during the early stages of the race before gradually making his way to the front to challenge the pre-race favourite.

As the two leaders passed the 2km mark in 2.44 (Donnelly) and 2.45 (Laadjel) the Donore Harriers man made a bid for victory, but was unable to open a wide enough gap to claim the top honour.

Donnelly’s final lap of 63 seconds compared to Laadjel’s 68, proved the difference between gold and silver.

Fathi Aden, making a comeback to competitive running, placed 18th in 9.47.67 from a field of 20 starters. 

In Saturday’s National Combined Events Championships Lara O’Byrne was leading the senior women’s heptathlon by 269 points after three of seven disciplines.

But, prior to the 200m, a sudden and painful leg injury forced her to withdraw from the contest which was won by Karen Dunne of Bohermeen AC.

The North Cork Athletics Club assembled strong fields to contest Sunday’s International Charleville Half-Marathon which was won by international marathon runner Mick Clohisey (1.05.08) of Raheny Shamrocks AC.

First home for Donore was Ray Hynes in 10th place, with new member Robert Murphy just two places further back and Josh O’Sullivan Hourihan clocking a PB of 1.11.33 and, with it, 20th position overall.

Ide Nic Dhomhnaill placed 55th overall and was first in the Senior Women’s division while Sorcha Nic Dhomhnaill came home 67th and the fourth senior woman.

Club newcomer Sorcha Loughnane placed 65th overall and second in the W40 category.

In the Morton Live Event at Santry on Friday Emmet O’Briain ran 4.42.85 to finish fourth in the Men’s Mile, with Donal Iremonger placing ninth.

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