Sean Cronin stormed home in third place on the second day of racing for Team Ireland at the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Banska Bystrica. In what was a full day of action for Irish athletes, top performances across the board saw athletes perform and progress through the rounds. The EYOF is a multi-sport event for athletes aged 14-18 that runs from the 25 – 30 July.
Sean Cronin won a bronze medal in the Boy’s 1500m with a time of 4:02.81, just behind Italy and Hungary. Delighted with his performance the sixteen year old from Rush, Dublin, said,
“It was a bit of a hectic race, more like rugby than athletics – we were rotating around swapping for places for the whole thing, and the last lap it was chaos down the back straight but I managed to get in a fairly good position on the last bend. I gave it everything but couldn’t get up to the Italian and Hungarian chap at the end but happy enough.
“I’m absolutely delighted, a great way to end the season. Couldn’t ask for much better. That was my expectation back in March when I was looking to get the qualification time. I said to the lads at training, I definitely can get a medal, and now to get the medal is just a great way to end the season, and I’m going into the cross country season. It’s just exciting, it’s exactly where I want to be.”
Ratoath’s Jesse Osas finished 6th in the boy’s 100m heat with a new PB of 10.86. Speaking after the race he said,
“Personally, I could have run better, but it’s a new PB, I came sixth in the continent, I have nothing to complain about. I did have big expectations, sixth place, I’ll still take it.”
Senan O’Reilly, from Conna, Cork, raced a great race in the Boy’s 800m to finish with a time of 1:58.23 in the heats, qualifying him for the semi-finals next Friday.
Cork’s Okwu Backari finished eleventh in the final in the long jump with 5.39.
In the Boy’s Singles Dylan Noble got a walkover in his scheduled match against Andrei Schmidt (Estonia), while Michelle Shochan had a busy afternoon of competition with three rounds of her Group Play, two of which she won, resulting in her moving to the last 16, where she will play Sweden.
In a tight fought battle against number one seed in her group, Jelena Buchberger from Croatia, competition went to the third match, which was taken by Buchberger 18-21, 21-18, 21-12.
Later in the afternoon the Dubliner took on Austria’s Anja Rumpold, and controlled the match from the start, dominating the first game 21-13. The second game saw the Austrian fight back, with Shochan taking the victory 21-18. In the final match against Germany’s Marie Stern the fourteen year old Shochan took another win with 23-21, 21-18.
“Today I had the last three matches of my group stage, and I was able to get out as the second person. I lost my first match but then played Austria and I was able to stay calm and focused and just stuck to my plan. The last match of today was against a 6 foot German and I was able to do my best and was able to form. I had hoped to get out of my group, but I was so happy to have done it because I am one of the youngest here.”
Seth Dunwoody was the fastest Irish finisher in the Boy’s Time Trial netting 5th place with a time of 11:06.81. The Orchard CC cyclist came within six seconds of a medal and was sitting in third place until the last few riders. Patrick Casey also made the top ten, finishing in 10th with 11:12.55, and Sam Coleman was 43rd with 11:39.20, having been unlucky with the conditions during his race.
Speaking after the race, Dunwoody said,
“I’m over the moon with that, it’s such a big competition with a lot of strong riders. The course started with a 90 degree corner off the startline with pave and cobbles. There was gradual incline before a 180 turn, and back into town which was a very fast run into the final. I think we take away from today that we are a country that can be reckoned with in the road race, and if we play our cards right, we have three solid riders that we can do the job with.”
Aine Doherty was the best of the Irish in the Girl’s Time Trial, finishing tenth with a time of 12:40.7 over the 8.4km race that went through the town centre.
Speaking after the race, Doherty said,
“It feels amazing, I can’t believe it. Top ten was my goal so it feels amazing and to get it feels unreal. It’s really special, my parents are here as well, so hearing them on the sideline and to be able to get a good result, it feels really good. It was not an overly long circuit, you could pace it off the start, it was a bit of a drag up to the hairpin, so you just give it everything and pedal it back down. It was really nice in the square, all the tight corners and the atmosphere was class!”
Mya Doocey was 31st with 13:09.11 and Aliyah Rafferty finished 60th with 13:36.36.
Both Conor Fitzgerald and Grace Davison qualified out of their morning heats for the semi-finals of the Boy’s 100m Free and Girl’s 200m Breaststroke respectively. Davison finished 7th in her semi-final, knocking 3 seconds off her morning time, with 2:39.15, while Fitzgerald finished 19th overall with a semi-final time of 53.00 seconds.
Speaking after his first major race internationally, Fitzgerald said,
“The atmosphere was amazing, I had a lot of nerves, but that’s to be expected! You get used to it.”
In the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Niall Hooten narrowly missed out on qualifying by 0.3, finishing fourteenth place. The Douglas gymnast posted a new personal best in the vault, and speaking after his event he said,
“It’s my first major international competition and I didn’t know what to expect coming into it. I put in a lot of new moves, my difficulty was up there with everyone else. Although some of my routines weren’t so great, I did some routines I’m proud of as well. The vault especially, I’m very proud of that, it’s a new vault and I landed it very well. My vault is normally a full twisting somersault, but I added another full twist so it was a double twist – I landed it well and I was happy with that.”
There will be another busy day tomorrow with Athletics, Badminton, Cycling, Gymnastics and Swimming all on the schedule.
RESULTS – TUESDAY 26 JULY 2022
Sean Cronin – Boy’s 1500m Final BRONZE with 4:02.81
Jesse Osas –Boy’s 100m Final – 6th with a PB
Senan O’Reilly – Boy’s 800m Heats – qualified for final with 1:58.13
Okwu Backari – Girl’s Long Jump Final – 11th with 5.39
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