CORK'S Phil Healy was less than two-tenths of a second away from a European medal in Poland on Saturday evening.
The Ballineen Bullet left everything on the track to cross the line in a superb time of 51.94, a personal best, with the winner Femke Bol finishing in 50.63.
She ran 51.99 in Abbotstown two weeks ago to set her up for this tilt at glory in Torun.
While there was obvious disappointment at missing out on a bronze, Healy excelled in her three 400-metre races at the European Indoor Championship, winning her qualifier and semi-final on Friday.
The Corkonian came first in her semi-final in a time of 52.41 and improved on that in the final, even if it wasn't enough to step on the podium. The standard was exceptionally high, with Justyna Swiety-Ersetic of Poland taking silver in 51.41 and Britain's Jodie Williams third in 51.73.
The 26-year-old has specialised in the 200m distance up to now and at 26th in the world rankings is well on track for the Tokyo Olympics.
The question now is whether she can qualify for the 400 metres as well. On the evidence of this weekend, she's in with a real chance.
“I said I’d go out fighting and I’d die fighting in the process and that’s what I did,” Healy told RTE after. “I got so close to the medals, I was just 0.2 out but I came away with a personal best and to do that in there with a world-class field I’m delighted.
“Everyone in that race has speed but I had to put myself in contention. I got caught in a bit of a mess but I came home strong. I never had that last 50 before and to come away fourth, I’m buzzing and to get a PB in the process."
She was able to put her progress in context.
"Any of those girls would be in the medals at a World Indoors and to be in contention with them, to be battling for the medals…I gave it everything.
"That was a messy race and my third since yesterday morning so there is a lot quicker there. I’ll leave that for future major championships.”