BY CHRIS MCNULTY
MARK English has been named as the athlete of the year at the Athletics Ireland awards in Dublin.
The European bronze medalist picked up the top prize at AI’s awards bash at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry and the 21-year-old has confirmed that he will now link up with coach Nic Bideau.
English took bronze in the 800m at the European Track and Field Championships in August, taking third just behind Adam Kszczot and Artur Kuciakpsi. English had looked on course for a silver before just being pipped on the line by Kuciakpsi.
In winning bronze the Letterkenny native became only the seventh Irish athlete to medal at those Championships. His time, 1:45.03, equalled his season’s best and that run in the Letzigrund Stadium was confirmation of his arrival onto the big stage.
English was also named as the best track and field athlete following his superb exploits this season.
His time in Zurich equalled the stunning run at the Ichan Stadium in New York when the UCD AC man came home in 1:45.03 to take second in a Diamond League 800m – finishing behind Olympic sensation and world record holder David Rudisha.
In July, English had another blistering run to set a stadium record 1:45.30 at the Morton Stadium in Santry to win the 800m at the Morton Games.
Bideau has been working as English’s agent and it was been confirmed that he’ll now link up with the Australian – married to Irish athletics legend Sonia O’Sullivan – for coaching.
Earlier this year, English and his long-term coach, Letterkenny’s Teresa McDaid, parted ways.
It was a memorable awards bash for Donegal athletics with Donegal town’s Karl Griffin, another man who wears the UCD AC singlet these days, named as junior athlete of the year.
Griffin ran a personal best 1:47.44 to reach the 800m semi-finals at the World Junior Championships in Oregon.
Finn Valley AC’s Sarah Collins was also nominated for the junior award, but it was Griffin who took the accolade.
While the brothers kept in contact over the years through regular letters and Christmas cards they had never seen...