On the penultimate day of competition at the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Maribor, Davey Davitt came agonisingly close to a medal in the Boy’s 400m Hurdles, finishing fourth with 53.12, within 0.1 seconds of the podium. There was plenty of Irish support in the Poljane Athletics Stadium tonight, with Oisin McGloin competing in the Boy’s 3000m, and both Medley Relays recording season and personal bests. Earlier this morning Ava Jones was the last swimmer to compete for Team Ireland, racing in the Girl’s 50m Freestyle.
EYOF 2025 host city revealed
Today, the host country for the next edition of the EYOF was revealed as North Macedonia, with the event based in Skopje, it and will occur in 2025. First held in Brussels in 1991, the EYOFs offer athletes aged 14 – 18 the chance to participate in an international multi-sport event. 54 gold medallists at EYOFs have gone on to become Olympic Champions in their disciplines. Competition in Maribor for the 2023 edition of the Games runs from 23 – 29 July, with 42 Irish athletes competing in five sports.
Davey Davitt was extremely impressive in the 400m hurdles, finishing just outside the personal best time of 52.99 that he set earlier this week, running a time of 53.12, a tenth of a second off bronze. Speaking after the race, and in his first international competition, Davitt described his race,
“It was great to be in the final and to run against the faster guys, so I was thrilled to be there. It didn’t go to plan because the first three hurdles were on my non-dominant foot, so I just tried to fix it up from there. My form kind of crumbled and I was focusing on a medal instead of keeping my form at the end, so I just didn’t really close very well off the last hurdle.
“Coming around the bend I felt really good, and my strides were feeling long and loose. Then I saw two ahead of me and I got caught up in the moment, and tried to overstride, and lean forward and lost my cadence and my rhythm.”
Taking confidence from his performance, Davitt added,
“It shows me that I can do anything that I put my mind to, and if I surround myself with great people like my teammates, Team Ireland and my coaches, and that when I trust them, the sky’s the limit. Believe in my ability and trust everyone around me, that’s what I take away from these games.”
Oisin McGloin had a long wait until his Boy’s 3000m Final, where he finished in eleventh place with 8:47.55, on a hot and humid evening. The City of Lisburn runner was competing in his first major competition, and as the pace lifted, the field strung out, with the Irish man remaining in the field until the final 600m. Leaving everything on the line, McGloin said,
“I was really glad to get it done, it was a long wait to get going, and it builds up a bit of nerves. And I have been watching everyone else all week, and thinking okay, I’m going to be next, that builds up a bit of nerves too.
“It was a bit of a weird race, the first 200m or 300m were tactical and then it just started to wind up. During the last few laps, the leaders were continuing to wind it up and wind it up, and just I did all I could to stay in the pack, and I would have liked to stay in a little longer, but it’s another learning curve.”
The Girl’s Medley Relay of Leila Colfer (100m), Katie Doherty (200m), Hollie Kilroe (300m) and Amy-Jo Kierans (400m) ran a season best time of 2:11.79, narrowly missing out on qualifying for tomorrow’s final. Speaking after the race, Carlow’s Colfer was competing in her first major competition this week, and was happy to step up into the Medley Relay, and to finish the week on a high,
“It’s been so amazing this week – this is my first major champs this week. My individual didn’t go my way, but I’m so happy to be here, and I’m happy with how the relay went. It was a good end to the week.”
Castlerea teammate, Kilroe, was competing at her second EYOF, and described how the team aspect of the relay gives her a boost,
“We tried our best and had a good run, but we just missed out on the final, but it was nice to do it together. The feeling in a team is very different, going out into a call room on your own, the stress of it! Compared to going out with your friends, the stress is so much less. You’re just enjoying it rather than feeling the pressure. No matter how good you do, you’ll have your friends with you, and you will be so proud.”
The Boy’s Medley Relay of Jesse Osas (100m), Donal Martin (200m), Davey Davitt (300m) and Jason O’Reilly (400m), ran a time of 1:56.45 – the fastest time Team Ireland has ever clocked in this event at the EYOF. While not enough to qualify for the final, speaking after the event, Ratoath AC’s Osas was proud of the team, saying,
“I feel all our legs individually were good, we all fought hard, all ran our best. Unfortunately, it was not enough to make the final, but we still did good. It was a new PB for the whole team, we can’t ask for more.”
The final swimmer in action today for Team Ireland was Dubliner Ava Jones who was competing in the Girl’s 50m Freestyle Heats. Her finish time of 27.35, while not being an auto-qualifier, put her as first reserve for the semi-finals. Coached by Andrew Addison, Jones was focusing on improving her breathing in the race,
“I probably would have liked to be a little faster off the start, I felt a little bit slow coming up, I thought I was a bit behind. I had a race plan coming in of where to breathe, and I breathed where I wanted to, but I probably was a little bit sow, and should have kicked with my legs a bit. It’s just outside by PB so I’m happy with it.”
This rounds out a really important learning experience for Jones and the whole team, taking the positives from the event, saying,
“The competition is so good. Travel can have an effect on your races, so I’m pretty pleased with everything. Just racing here is so much different to home, there’s so much to learn.”
Tomorrow is the final day of competition at EYOF for Team Ireland, with Cian Crampton competing in the Boy’s Discus Final, and Nicole Dinan competing in the Girl’s 1500m Final.
Results 28 July 2023
Davey Davitt, Boy’s 400m Final – 4th in 53.12 seconds
Oisin McGloin, Boy’s 3000m Final – 11th in 8:47.55
Girl’s Medley Relay, NAMES, Heats – 2:11.79 (Season Best), not enough to qualify
Boy’s Medley Relay, NAMES, Heats – 1:56.45 (Personal Best), not enough to qualify
Ava Jones, Girl’s 50m Freestyle Heats – 27.35, first reserve for semi-finals