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Ireland's Nadia Power scores big win in 800m in Zagreb

Nadia Power has scored a big win on the European athletics circuit, taking victory in the 800m in Zagreb tonight at the 70th Hanžeković Memorial “Continental Tour Gold” meeting in Croatia.

European Under-23 bronze-medallist Power held off Hanna Hermansson of Sweden to win in 2 minutes, 2.08 seconds - the second-fastest time of her career - after clocking her new Irish U23 record of 2:01.01 last week at the Quercia meeting in Rovereto, Italy.

While it wasn’t even Power’s best time of the week, the three athletes behind the DCU star all recorded season’s bests.

Hermansson, a six-time Swedish outdoor champion, was just over half-a-second down in 2:02.66, with Portugal’s Marta Pen Freitas third in 2:03.02.

Former European 5000m champion Meraf Bahta of Sweden was in fourth in 2:04.48.

22-year-old Power has run the three fastest times of her life in the past eight days, and now lies sixth in the all-time Irish rankings.

She had clocked 2:02.12 in Šamorín, Slovakia on Friday night, dipping under that mark this evening.

The previous U23 record of 2:01.89 had been set by Aoife Byrne in 2001.

The other high Irish finish of the night came in Switzerland, when European bronze-medallist Thomas Barr came third in the 400m hurdles at the Galà dei Castelli meeting in Bellinzona.

Athletics campaign

Barr pushed up from fifth spot with a couple of hurdles to go, overtaking a couple of athletes, but was too far back to trouble French winner Ludvy Vallaint, who clocked 49.22, ahead of American David Kendziera’s 49.67.

The Waterford athlete’s time of 50.00 dead is still a season’s best, across this year’s very short and congested outdoor athletics campaign, necessitated due to the Olympics and European Championships being wiped out by the coronavirus crisis.

At the same Swiss meeting, 400m Olympic champion and world record holder Wayde van Niekirk won his first race back after an absence of three years, by coming from well behind to win in 45.58 seconds.

Meanwhile in the men’s 1500m in Zagreb, Ireland’s former European fourth-placer Paul Robinson was tilting at the front for the first couple of laps, but fell back in the final 200 metres when the vital acceleration over the final lap was absent for him, and he fell to tenth in 3:38.26.

Australia’s Stewart McSweyn was a runaway winner, recording a margin of almost two-and-a-half seconds over James West of Britain, taking the victory in 3:32.17.