English and Robinson bow out of 800m in Moscow

Mark English in action this morning in Moscow. Pic: INPHO/Ian MacNicol.

Mark English and Paul Robinson both bowed out of the 800m in the first round heats on the opening morning of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

English came fourth in his heat with a competitive mark of 1 minute, 47.08 seconds – but still found himself as eighth-fastest loser when only the first six outside the automatic qualifying positions would progress to tomorrow’s semi-finals.

The Letterkenny athlete, who finished fifth at the World Juniors in Barcelona last year, had to fight back on the outside in the closing straight, but was narrowly pipped into fourth, outside the three automatic qualifying spots from his heat.

Olympics fifth-placer Nick Symmonds of the USA won the heat in 1:46.90, with Qatar’s Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla second and Samir Jamaa of Morocco third, 0.14 seconds ahead of English, with Symmonds just 0.18 ahead of the Irishman.

The 20-year-old Donegal prospect said: “It’s gutting but I don’t think I could have done much more than what I did today.

“It wasn’t a bad race looking back on it, because of the finish right behind Nick Symmonds.

“It’s true that you do need a wee bit of luck on your side and unfortunately I missed out today.

“I’m going to go to Zurich next year for The Europeans and I want to medal there. I’m still 20 years old, I still have lots more years left.

“I’m gutted, but there are still positives to take from it.”

Robinson had earlier finished sixth in his heat in 1:48.61, three seconds down on his personal best set earlier this year.

The St Coca’s AC athlete, who finished fourth in the European U23 1500m in Tampere last month, got off to a slow start and had to pace himself back into the field.

Having done that, Robinson found himself left behind in the closing straight, and knew pretty much straight away he would not be going through.

“It was tough,” Robinson said afterwards. “I thought it was going to be a bit faster than it was, and I found myself in a bad position.

“My inexperience at the 800 showed there. You can’t afford to get off as slow as I did.

“That kick down the back straight was nothing like what I’m used to in the 1500, the boys were going for it from then."

“I was gaining in the last 120m, but it just wasn’t enough.”

Maria McCambridge is next in action for Ireland in the women’s marathon – the Dundrum South Dublin athlete is coached by three-time Dublin Marathon winner Dick Hooper – while Jennifer Carey competes in the 400m heats around 3:30 Irish time.

Meanwhile, in a major boost for Robert Heffernan and Brendan Boyce, Russia’s Olympic champion Sergey Kirdyapkin has pulled out of Wednesday’s 50m walk – the event in which Heffernan finished fourth at the Olympics.

No reason has been given for the absence of Kirdyapkin or three-times women’s walk champion Olga Kaniskina.

The athletes’ coach Valentin Maslakov said: “It’s probably a case of their health.”

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