BY CHRIS MCNULTY
MARK English produced a sensational performance to finish second, behind Olympic champion David Rudisha, in the 800m at the Diamond League in New York’s Ichan Stadium on Saturday evening.
English ran a season’ best 1:45.03 to take second behind 800m world record holder Rudisha, with the Kenyan taking the win in a time of 1:44.63.
English has had a solid start to the outdoor season, winning an 800m in Belgium (1:46.3) and then running a 1:46.22 that was inside the qualification time for the European Championships which take place in Zurich in August.
In New York, English lined up in a quality field, but the Letterkenny man and UCD AC athlete delivered another remarkable race to beat some top 800m athletes.
Duane Solomon of the USA – who came fourth in the 800m final at the 2012 Olympics – finished in third, while Marcin Lewandowski came fourth in New York. Polish athlete Lewandowski was the gold medal winner at the European Championships in Barcelona four years ago.
Adam Kszczot, another Polish runner who took bronze in Barcelona and who has won the last two European Indoor 800m titles, was fifth, while Central America and Caribbean champion Wesley Vázquez came home in sixth.
For English, this was a significant time – the third fastest of his career – that places him fourth in the European 800m rankings.
Last year, English powered to a 1:45.32 at the Morton Games before he set a blistering 1:44.84 at a Diamond League meet in London to come to within two hundredths of a second of David Matthews’s long-standing Irish 800m record (1:44.82).
On the evidence of recent form, it won’t be too long before English lowers those numbers.
Last week in an interview with the Donegal News, the 21-year-old medicine student laid down his two goals for this summer – breaking the record and hitting form at Zurich.
He said: “The Europeans are what I want to peak for…Hopefully I’ll be coming into my peak for Zurich.”
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