Athletics

Darragh McElhinney Wins 5000m Bronze For Ireland At Euro U20s

Darragh McElhinney Wins 5000m Bronze For Ireland At Euro U20s

Darragh McElhinney won bronze for Ireland in the 5000m at the European U20 Championships in Sweden on Sunday afternoon.

The 18-year-old from Glengarriff ran 14:06.05 as he finished behind Aslanhan Ayetullah of Turkey in second and winner Aaron La Heras of Spain.

McElhinney hit the front with just over two laps to go. He was overtaken at the bell by the Spaniard and subsequently the Turkish athlete on the back straight.

 

Ireland's Jamie Battle finished 14th in the race.

McElhinney went into the championships as the fastest U20 in Europe. He ran 13:54.10 at a meeting in Belgium back in May to smash the Irish U20 5000m record.

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"In fairness, if I knew it was going to go out that fast, I would have been happy beforehand," the teenager said in an interview posted on the Athletics Ireland Twitter account.

I just got a bit excited with a kilometre to go. I was feeling controlled throughout the race. I felt OK until about 600m to go, my legs felt like they would with 200m to go.

When Aaron, the Spanish guy, overtook me at the bell, I said this was my chance, sit in behind. I just didn't have the legs for it today.

Initially, I was disappointed because I did come here looking for gold, I'm not going to act like I wasn't. With 100m, I was telling myself not to sulk and just make sure of the bronze. At least I did that because there was fella coming for me.

Genuinely, I was deflated with 100m to go. It was a mental battle to say, 'Come on, pick it up'.

I am disappointed, it is a bit of an anti-climax. At the start of the year, I wrote down my goals and I wanted to get European medal. I'm happy to at least have got a bronze and bring something home for Ireland.

It was Ireland's second medal of the championships. Kate O'Connor won silver for Ireland in the heptathlon on Friday.

On Saturday, there was heartbreak for medal hopes Aaron Sexton, who finished fourth in the 200, and Davicia Patterson, who finished fourth in the 400m. Sommer Lecky, who won silver at the World U20 Championships last summer, finished fifth in the high jump.

Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

See Also: Kate O'Connor Wins Silver To Earn Ireland's First Heptathlon Medal At Major Championship

PJ Browne
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