Cragg surrenders title as Gillick retains his

Mar 4, 2007 [Noel Guiden] A clearly out of form Alistair Cragg lost his 3000M European Indoor title in Birmingham yesterday with a very disapointing performance in the final. Cragg was truely never in the race. A very slow opening 1k saw Cragg jog along at the rear of the field. Half way through the race he moved steadly up the field but then settled back in to 6th place on the inside at the rear of the lead pack, as the pace increased, and not to a dramatic pace by any means, for whatever reason he never reacted and really never looked like figuring in the medals let alone retaining his title.In the end he finished a sad 6th in a time of 8:03.7. His title taken by suprise winner Italy`s Cosimo Caliandro (8:02.44).

Thankfully Ireland`s other defending Champion DSD`s David Gillick delivered in the 400M with a magnificent effort to overhaul the impressive German Bastain Swillims over the final meters of a dramatic final in an extreamly fast 45.52. Gillick`s joy was there for all to see. Superb.

Overall, aside from the disappointing run from Alistair Cragg, these were very positive championships from an Irish perspective. In the sprints Anna Boyle ran 7.30 for 60m to qualify for the semi finals. Paul Hession went one better in the mens to make history by becoming the first Irishman in the finals of the short sprint at a major championship finishing 7th. James Nolan once again made the final in the 1500m. In the 800s both David McCarthy and Thomas Chamney made the semi finals and Mary Cullen was 7th in the 3000m final. In the words of the poet Jerry Kiernan ” Irish Athletics has again punched above our weight”.The future looks bright.