Four Irish athletes advanced to finals on the opening day of action at the European U20 Athletics Championships in Jerusalem, Israel.
The four day event got underway just after 6am Irish Time on Monday morning, with thirty-two athletes set to don the green singlet this week.
The performance of the day from an Irish perspective arguably went to Cork teenager Lucy-May Sleemann who advanced to the final of the hotly contested Women’s 100m.
Running in lane one in her semi-final the 19-year-old got off to a blistering start, holding her form well all the way to the line, to clock a massive personal best of 11.54, knocking nearly a tenth of a second off her previous best and moving her to joint 15th on the Irish All-Time list alongside Derval O’Rourke.
Sleeman’s performance was good enough to finish fourth in her semi-final meaning she did have to wait until semi-final two was completed for her place in tomorrow’s final as a fastest non-automatic qualifier to be confirmed.
Like Sleeman, Nick Griggs also competed at the World U20 Championships last year and he was one of the first on the team in action in the searing early morning heat.
Griggs, who will represent Ireland at the World Athletics Championships later this month over 1500m, comfortably advanced to the final of the Men’s 3000m beginning his quest to retain the title he won back in 2021.
The Tyrone man finished second in his heat, checking his surroundings down the home straight, before fist-pumping Norwegian athlete Andreas Halvorsen as he crossed the line in 8.32.22.
Niamh Murray produced a massive performance when it mattered most. Racing in the Women’s 400m the young athlete clocked a personal best of 54.75 to finish fifth in the opening heat. Murray then faced an anxious wait to see if she could hold on to one of the four fastest non-automatic qualifying spots for this morning’s semi-final.
Adam Nolan also advanced to the semi-finals in his event, the 110m Hurdles, as a fastest non-automatic qualifier. The national U20 record holder looked strong as he powered across the line to finish fifth in his heat in a time of 13.76. His semi-final takes place tomorrow afternoon at 2:55pm.