By Harry Walsh
LETTERKENNY athlete Mark English takes part in the prestigious Millrose Games for Dublin City University this weekend.
English flies home from New York on Monday as he continues his build-up to what he hopes will culminate in an appearance in this summer’s Olympic Games in London.
The Letterkenny AC man has one and a half seconds to shave off his personal best time if he is to achievethe Olympic A standard for 800m – which stands at 1.45.6 – but it’s a target which the 18-year-old believes is achievable.
A first year Psychology student at DCU, Mark set new Irish Junior Indoor and Outdoor records over 800m last year – his 1.47.09 time in Belgium erasing the old mark held by twice Olympian James Nolan 1.47.55 from 1996.
He insisted this week – between flight connections – that he was looking forward to joining an elite group of gifted athletes who have worn the green vest at an Olympic Games.
“My main target for this year is the World Juniors in Barcelona but I would really love to make the Olympic A qualifying standard. Okay, I’m still young and won’t be nineteen until March. Physically, I will probably be at my peak in Rio (De Janeiro – 2016 Olympics) but with the Olympics being so close to us this summer I want to give it my best shot.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to put too much pressure on myself but I will certainly take the chance if it presents itself. It’s all about taking one step at a time but you never know in this sport,” he said.
Before that he has his sights on a good run over the boards in New York on Saturday night.
Mark is competing at the world famous Millrose Games for Dublin City University. Together with Joe Warne (1200m), Brian Gregan (400m) and John Coughlan (mile), Mark (800m) has been selected to represent DCU in the distance-relay team at the legendary New York event.
This is John's first trip to the World Championships where he will come up against full-time professionals.