Last week two of Waterford’s outstanding young athletes David McCarthy (West Waterford) and Kelly Proper (Ferrybank) rubbed shoulders with the continent’s best athletes at the European Under 23 Championships in Kausa, Lithuania.
Both put in brilliant performances as was confidently expected by those close to the athletic scene in Waterford.
For McCarthy from Ballinamult in particular it was a great occasion as he took the bronze medal in the 5000 metres.
David, who will be 21 next month went into that final in top form after a highly successful season indoors and outdoors on the US collegiate circuit with his college, Providence in Rhode Island and was one of the pre-race favourites.
As with all championships over this distance fast times are the exception and invariably it’s down to tactics with athletes watching each other closely especially the fancied ones in the race on Thursday last.
The early part of the final was quite slow and the tempo didn’t increase until the final 600 metres when the eventual winner Elbendir from Spain decided to go and his move was decisive.
David got into a battle for the silver medal with the holder of the title, Smail from France and in a hectic finish the Frenchman took the silver just in front of David.
The winner’s time was 13 minutes 55 10 seconds. Smail was second in 13 59.23 and David a yard behind a gallant third in 14.00.78, the best performance of his career to date but no doubt there will be many more good days for him
Kelly sixth in long jump final
Kelly Proper (pictured) from the city competed in the Long Jump qualifiers on Saturday and with her first and only jump of 6.40 metres she easily made the final as seventh of the 12 qualifiers for Sunday’s final.
In the final, held in swirling windy conditions, Kelly fouled her first two jumps and with her third jump she had to clear 6.25 metres to stay in the competition.
And, as so often in the past Kelly rose to the occasion to put in the second best jump of her career of 6.58 metres and at that stage she was within striking distance of a medal
But with other athletes having big jumps in their final round Kelly could not improve on her best. She did go on to jump 6.58 to finish a highly creditable sixth of the 12 finalists.
For the record the winning jump was 6.83 metres, second was 6.76, third 6.72., fourth 6.69, fifth 6.61 and Kelly sixth with 6th 6.58.
These distances show how close Kelly is getting to the very best. The first third and fourth athletes all had their best jump in the final round. Congratulations to two great sporting ambassadors from Waterford.
Kelly will be in London this weekend for the big International Meeting in Crystal Palace and she is taking part in the Long Jump against top class opposition – but Kelly will by no means out of place in such an event.
Local athletes at European Juniors
Starting on this Thursday July 23rd and continuing until Sunday next, the European Junior Championships are being held in in Serbia and three athletes from Ferrybank AC have been selected on the Irish team.
The three are Niamh Whelan (pictured) in the 100 and 200 metres and sprint relay, Christopher Russell in the 100 and 200 metres and Billy Ryan in the 400 metres and 4×400 metres relay.
There is a doubt over Russell’s participation as he has been injured and he will have to pass a fitness test before he can be confirmed as a starter. All will be in action on Thursday.
The finals of Whelan and Russell’s 100 metres will be held on Day Two, as is the 400 metre final.
The heats of the 200 metres, along with the semi-finals and final will take place on Day Three.