Clonliffe’s Alistair Cragg, the reigning European 3000M Indoor Champion, finished just outside of the medals at the World Indoor Championships in Moscow on the 12th of March in a race dominated by the Africans.
Alistair’s passage to the final was not without its drama when he stumbled badly, nearly falling, in the heats held on Friday morning. Alistair stumbled four laps from home nearly falling and slipping to the end of the field. Alistair was to say later “I didn’t panic, I got back up through the field, did what I had to do and I still felt strong finishing which was good.” Cragg qualified fairly comfortably for the final taking the 4th automatic qualifying place.
The final was a truly star studded affair, the field of the Championship. Bekele describing it as “the race of champions”.
In the final on Sunday Alistair ran an impressive race, always being in the lead group however, when the Africans upped the pace over the last few laps Alistair found himself cut adrift eventually finishing 4th, the first non-African, in a time of 7:46.43.
The gold medal was won by Kenensia Bekele in a time of 7:39.32 from Shaheen (Quator) and Kipchoge (Kenya) 3rd.
The notable Irish success of the Championships was the superb gold medal winning performance of Derval O’Rourke of Leevale in the 60M hurdles. This was a sensational victory and was only the second medal winning performance at the World Indoor Championships by an Irish woman and was the first gold won by an Irish woman.
Derval broke her Irish record on two occasions over the Championships in her victory in the semi-final recording a time of 7.87 and in the final lowering the record further to 7.84.
Other Irish performances over the weekend included a good performance by James Nolan (UCD) in firstly getting to the 1500M final and then in the final itself where he placed 6th. Nolan had sat at the rear of the field for the first five laps however when he made his move with two laps to go found the pace at the front too fast and Nolan came home 6th in a time of 3:43.98, showing a notable return to form.
Unfortunately Ireland’s other European Indoor Champion, David Gillick was run out of his heat and failed to make the semi-final. David McCarthy, also in the 400M, ran a good heat to qualify for the semi-final where he finished 6th in a time of 47.11.
Ireland’s two ladies in the 3000M under-performed with Maria McCambridge coming home 10th and Roisin McGettigan 13th.