Galway Olympians off colour at world champs

Galway’s two Olympic hopefuls did not enjoy the best results in this year World Athletic Championships in South Korea.

Olive Loughnane of Loughrea AC and Paul Hession of Athenry AC were disappointed in their performances.

Loughnane, who finished second at the World Championships in 2009, was competing in conditions that were very tough going with humidity levels at 88 per cent.

The Galway woman, who was focused on making the podium, drifted from the leading pack 25 minutes into the race following an injection of pace by the Russian trio of Olga Kaniskina, Vera Sokolova and Anisya Kirdyapkina. Although she managed to work her way back to the leading pack, subsequent lifts in pace saw her move further down the field to 23rd place at halfway point, more than 23 seconds adrift from the leader. At 15km mark that gap had increased to two minutes, with Loughnane in 20th place. She crossed the line in 18th position, four minutes adrift from Olga Kaniskina, who successfully retained her title in 1:29:42.

There was also disappointment for Irish record holder Paul Hession who did not progress to the 200m semi-final after finishing fourth in his heat in 21.02. A time of 20.70 would have been good enough for Hession to gain a fastest loser spot into the next round. At the recent Irish Senior Track and Field Championships he ran a season’s best of 20.51 - the A qualification standard for both World Championships and the London Olympic Games.

Elsewhere in athletics Craughwell AC’s Maria McNamara received her first international call-up last weekend when selected to represent Ireland in the international heptathlon challenge match between Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales which was held in Stoke-on-Trent. Having won the Irish National u-17 title in the heptathlon in July with a points total of 3384, McNamara was in outstanding form, recording personal bests in six of the seven events and helping the Irish team to finish in third place overall. The personal bests came in the 80m hurdles 13.11s, high jump 1.56m, 4kg shot put 7.78m, 200m 28.92s, javelin 23.98m, and 800m 2.40.66. With 4.74m in the long jump, this yielded a total of 3714 points – a significant improvement on her winning score in the Irish National Championships.

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