Former DCU student Fionnuala Britton produced a lightning quick last lap to claim a bronze medal in the women’s 3,000 metre final at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Gothenburg on Sunday.
With one lap to go it didn’t look like the Wicklow athlete would be among the medals, but sheer grit and determination saw her accelerate into the last 200 metres to catch Yelena Korobkina and claim her third major championship medal.
Britton, who finished in a time of 9:00.54, is the first Irish athlete to win medals at European Indoor and Cross Country Championships. And with the World Cross Country Championships taking place later this month, Gothenburg proved the perfect warm-up event.
The race was won by Portugal’s Sara Moreira, with Corrina Harrer just pipping Britton to the post to claim silver. It was Britton’s third major Championship medal in recent times.
Meanwhile, it was a disappointing end to the Championships for former DCU student Biran Gregan as he crashed out of the 400 metre semi-final with an ankle injury.
Gregan was one of the favourites to claim a medal in the event but he was forced to cut his race short after he was caught from behind by the Ukraine’s Voldomyr Burakov.
Despite trying to carry on, he eventually hobbled off the track before being stretchered to the medical room where he received nine stitches in his ankle.
The Irish management lodged an official protest but even if Gregan had been reinstated he would not have been able to compete on such an injury.
It was a heart-breaking finish to the Championship for the fastest 400 metre runner in Europe this season and one that may see him out of action for some time.