Despite the heat and humidity that was apparently making it less than comfortable for the athletes, Alistair ran a fantastic race coming in to win in 7:46.32 well ahead of second placed John Maycock (UK) in 7:51.46 with Spains’ Reyes Estevez who came in third in 7:51.65. Mark Carroll, who won the title five years ago came in ninth in a time of 7:57.56. The two Irishmen controlled the early part of the race, each taking turns to set the pace until Carroll backed off before finally losing connection with the leading pack. Interviewed later, Alistair thanked Mark Carroll for his selfless help during the race and over the past week, giving Alistair the benefit of his experience. His plan for the race had been to go with seven laps left, but mindful of the conditions, he decided to wait until six laps from the end and put in a burst of speed. The race was his with two laps to go and the other places were contested right to the finish with Britains’ John Maycock, finishing strongly from fourth in the home straight to clinch second from Estevez.
Earlier in the afternoon, David Gillick brought home Ireland’s first ever Sprint Gold at the Indoor European Championships. He stormed home in 46.30 secs with a good lead over second placed Spaniard David Canal who finished in 46.64 secs and Germany’s Sebastian Gatzka who was third in 46.88. As with a lot of indoor races there never much space to pass, but this race was exceptional with a lot of pushing and shoving on the bends. The Russian runner and Canal fought each other for the inside lane with Canal coming through later followed by Gillick who had the pace to kick past Canal and win. Gillick said later: “Canal went off very hard on the first lap, but I just waited. I can’t believe it. Before the race I felt very nervous. I knew on paper that I could get a medal but it’s a different thing to come out running and get a medal”.
This a fantastic result with two gold medals from the championship and a new National Record for Derval O’Rourke with 8.02secs in the 60m Hurdle Heats with several PBs and close run efforts from the team.