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Mark English wins 800m in Belgium in first outdoor appearance this season

Mark English. Photo: Declan Doherty.

Mark English. Photo: Declan Doherty.

MARK English made his first outdoor appearance of the season on Saturday, winning the 800m event at the IFAM International Flanders Meet in Oordegem, Belgium.

The 21-year-old Letterkenny man won the event in a time of 1:46.39, which was half a second quicker than his season opener in 2013.

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UCD AC athlete English was one of around fifty Irish athletes at the meet in Oordegem. Tir Chonaill AC’s Karl Griffin ran a 1:49.67 in his 800m event, which was just off his personal best and was inside the World Junior B standard, the fourth time this year he’s made it.

For English, it was a solid start to his outdoor campaign.

He tweeted on Sunday: “Felt fresh during yesterday’s season opener win in Belgium. Half a second quicker than this time last year. Next up: Hengelo World Challenge.”

In February, English set a new indoor 800m record. At the Woodies DIY AAI games in Athlone he clocked 1:46.82 to reset Daniel Caulfield’s 1:47.21.

The outdoor 800m record is held by David Matthews (1:44.82), but English is closing in. Last summer, he flashed a 1:44.84 in London.

Meanwhile, Finn Valley AC’s Sarah Collins secured an automatic qualifying spot for the NCAA 5k finals. In the East Preliminaries in Jacksonville on Saturday night, Collins finished ninth, in a time of 16:05.96. The time sees her qualify for the NCAA finals which take place in Eugene, Oregon, from June 11-14.

Collins is a scholarship student at Providence, Rhode Island. Last month, she won the Big East 10k at Villanova in a time of 33:36. Back in April, she set a new 5k PB of 15:31.03 at the Stanford Invitational.

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