European Silver for Mark English
UCD Medicine elite athlete, Mark English added to his burgeoning reputation as one of Europe’s leading runners by taking the silver medal in the 800m finals of the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Prague.
He ran an intelligent and composed race in Sunday’s final to come through the field when it mattered and take second place in a time of 1:47:20 behind winner Marcin Lewandowski from Poland. The 21 year old medical student who won the 800m bronze at last year’s outdoor European Championships in Zurich finished strongly ahead of Thijmen Kupers from the Netherlands.
Despite a relatively pedestrian first 400m, the Letterkenny man found himself towards the back of the field as the Dutchman injected pace to string out the field in the space of 50 metres with the eventual winner Lewandowski in close pursuit. Mark moved smoothly through the gears in the final 200m and rounded the final bend on second placed Kupers’ shoulder. It was a “perfect race” for Lewandowski who was not going to beaten leaving the race for second place.
Speaking immediately after the race, a clearly delighted English enjoyed the tactical battle.
"I knew with 400 metres to go that I had to stay in contention. Kupers made a move and he's a strong front runner and I knew he wouldn’t falter. I just had to bide my time and with about 150 metres left I got this well of energy. This is my sixth race of the season and I think I came into form at the right time, the other guys have over cooked it. I think Zurich was a better achievement but I came into this race as one of the favourites and that is something completely different. I am very proud to have moved on at this stage in my career."
While he will be quick to point out that both the outdoor European and World Championships are another level, this result marks a continued upward trajectory for the young Donegal man who has taken the national title three times in the past four years. Career highlights include a fifth place finish in the World Junior Athletics Championships, the bronze medal in European Athletics Championships in Zurich, fourth place at the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech and a second place finish behind David Rudisha at the New York Diamond League meeting.
He will be pleased by his growing race experience, being able to handle a favourite tag and his ability to put strong back-to-back performances in successive days ahead of the World Championships in Beijing in August.