TWO new meet records – one a Canadian national best – and a number of exciting and absorbing contests gave the local crowd plenty to cheer about at the 66th Cork City Sports.
Before one of the biggest attendances for years at the Cork IT, the ideal summer’s evening added to the atmosphere although a strong swirling wind proved troublesome for the early events on the programme.
By the time the women’s 200m sprints got underway at 8.30pm, the wind had died down, as seen by the zero wind reading. This prompted Crystal Emmanueal from Canada to seize the moment as she got off to a perfect start and held her form around the curve to cross the line with the clock showing 22.50.
This bettered the previous Canadian record of 22.62 held by Martina Payne since 1983 and also improved the meet record of 22.67 set by Laverne Jones seven years ago.
The hammer event has always been a firm favourite with Cork crowds since Yuri Sedykh and Sergei Litvinov improved the world record on no less than six occasions back in 1984 but this time it was a woman who stole the show.
Ide Storm of Sweden won with her fourth throw of 71.19m, 13 centimetres better than the previous meet record which had stood to Kathrin Klaas of Germany since 2010.
Storm also had a fifth round effort of 71.05m and was understandably delighted with her victory: “I’m very happy with that performance, my best is 71.52 but I’ve never thrown over 71 metres twice in the one meeting before. That’s my last competition before the worlds, it’s great to come here and it was very well arranged and great weather.”
The men’s 100m failed to live up to expectations with the favourite, Sydney Siame from Zambia, who has a seasonal best of 9.87, having to settle for fourth in 10.62 with victory going in a blanket finish to Sean McLean from the United States in 10.61.
Another close race was the 800m with Antonio Mascoll from Barbados just getting the verdict in 1:47.47 ahead of Jan Kubista from the Czech Republic (1:47.50) with British athlete Neil Gourley third in 1:47.84.
“I’m kind of happy with the win, it was very tough out there with the wind but after finishing third in Dublin last week it was nice to win here,” said Mascoll.
The men’s 3000m saw Reid Buchanan repeat his performance of 12 months ago when he received the Athlete of the Meet award when defeating twice-winner at Cork, Australian Collis Bermingham. This time the result was the same with the Kansas athlete clocking over two seconds faster, winning in 7:50.26 to Bermingham’s 7:50.47.
Sam Prakel, also of the USA, took the coveted one mile title in 3:55.89 but the performance of the night from an Irish point of view was Sean Tobin’s third place finish in a personal best of 3:57.00.
Having run 3:58.70 last Wednesday at the Morton Mile, the Clonmel man was delighted with his time, and how he ran the race: “I’m very pleased with that, every week I feel I’m getting sharper and sharper. I got out early there tonight but I feel I need to be more aggressive.
“In my last few races I’ve been at the back of the field so I decide to go for it tonight and I’m very pleased with the effort.”
In all, nine runners broke the once iconic four-minute barrier, showing once again the appeal of this classic distance and the class of performer the Cork City Sports have been attracting for now well over six decades.