Hession Advances *UPDATED*

*UPDATED* Paul Hession through to the final of the 200m as one of the fastest finishers - Good luck Paul.

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http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/sport/hession-progresses-colve...

Hession progresses, Colvert falls foul of infringement

Friday, June 29, 2012 - 01:36 PM

Paul Hession has breezed through to the semi-finals of the men’s 200 metres at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, but for Steven Colvert there was the frustration of becoming the latest athlete to fall foul of the Olympic Stadium’s infamous tight lanes.

Hession’s time of 20.75 seconds finishing second in his heat behind Greek sprinter Likourgos Stefanos Tsakonas was a season’s best for the Athenry sprinter, plus a season’s best.

In fact, Hession slowed down slightly crossing the line having realised his place in the semi-finals was more comfortably assured than he could have expected.

With the top four going through, Hession was 0.19 seconds clear of third-placed Sven Knipphals of Germany, and a whopping 0.70 ahead of fifth-placed Kiril Kirilov of Bulgaria.

Hession commented afterwards: “It was fine. I was out in the outside lane so it was hard to know where I was at times in the race, especially in the first 100m.

“The track is really tight. That bend is very difficult to handle. I was lucky I was on the outside, it made it a bit easier in some ways.

“I wasn’t sure where the German (Knippals) was. I could have run a little bit slower which would have been better, but it’s fine!”

However, Steven Colvert would suffer double agony in his heat.

The Mullingar athlete came fifth in 21.24 seconds, a disappointing time for him, but still was on track to qualify as a fastest loser when news came through of Colvert’s disqualification for drifting out of his lane.

The athletics track at this historic venue was dug up and relaid when the Finnish FA were told by FIFA to widen the football pitch in the centre two years ago, resulting in much tighter bends in all four corners of the track.

It’s what did for Joanne Cuddihy and nine male 400m runners on Wednesday, and also nobbled four of the 200m entrants today.

Before his disqualification, Colvert’s time caused him most upset, but there was a hint of what was to come: “21.24 is the slowest I’ve run all year, and it’s come at the European Championships.

“I knew (it was going wrong) as we came off onto the closing straight. Usually I would start making ground real quick but the bends are very tight and hard to navigate. I found myself stepping wide and never got it back.”

Amy Foster bowed out in the heats of the 200m by finishing sixth in her heat in a time of 24.04 seconds, but had been suffering from illness.

Tonight, Jessie Barr of Ferrybank faces a tough challenge in the final of the women’s 400m hurdles (6pm Irish time).

The 22-year-old from Waterford has been drawn in lane two for a decider where she has the slowest season’s best of the eight finalists, none of whom medalled in Barcelona two years ago at the last Europeans.

Brian Gregan of Clonliffe has a fighting chance in the final of the men’s 400m (7:25pm Irish time).

Having secured a personal best 45.63 seconds in the heats, Gregan recorded the third fastest time in the semi-finals, and has potential of a high finish.

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