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July 8th/9th, 2000 - Susan captains European Cup team.

Our own Susan Smith-Walsh captained the Irish women's team that competed in the European Cup, Division 1, on July 8th and 9th in Bydgoszcz, Poland.  The team as selected was regarded as the best women's team ever to represent the country but withdrawals weakened the team considerably.  Even with a full squad it would have been a daunting task for the team as their opponents were very strong, the other nations being Poland, Bulgaria, Belarus, Netherlands, Slovenia, Austria and Croatia.  Susan herself had a good weekend winning the opening event on the track, the 400mH, in a time of 56.16secs and being a member of the 4x400m relay team that qualified for the Olympic Games with a time of 3mins 33.20secs.  The standard is 3:36.00

Our other representative on the Irish team, Elaine Fitzgerald, had a very good run in the 1500m finishing fifth in a time of 4mins 17.6secs.  This race was run at a storming pace and Elaine was running in unknown territory from the gun, but with the determination that is her hallmark she contested every metre of the race which was won in a world-class time of 4mins 2secs.

For full results from Bydgoszcz, click the following, Day 1,  Day 2 

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July 13th, 2000 - Olympic Council approves athletes

The Olympic Council of Ireland approved a number of A standard athletes on Tuesday night.

The full list of A qualifiers now is:

Men: 100/200m, Paul Brizzel; 800m, James Nolan, David Matthews; 1,500m/5,000m/10,000m, Mark Carroll; 400m Hurdles, Tom McGuirk; Discus, Nicky Sweeney and John Menton; Hammer, Paddy McGrath and Roman Lincheid; High Jump, Brendan Reilly; 20k Walk, Robert Heffernan; 50k Walk, Jamie Costin.110m Hurdles, Peter Coghlan.

Women: 400m, Karen Shinkins; 1,500m: Sonia O’Sullivan; 5,000m: Sonia O’Sullivan, Breda Dennehy, Una English, Rosemary Ryan; 10,000m: Sonia O’Sullivan, Breda Dennehy; 400m Hurdles, Susan Smith; 20k Walk: Gillian O’Sullivan and Olive Loughnane.

B qualifiers:

Men: 200m, Gary Ryan; 400m, Tomas Coman, Paul McKee, Paul McBurney; 800m, Darren Dineen; 1,500m: Brian Treacy, James Nolan, Gareth Turnbull; 5,000m, Seamus Power; Marathon, Gerry Healy, Jamie Lewis, Noel Cullen; Javelin, Terry McHugh; Long Jump, Ciaran McDonagh; 50k Walk, Jeff Cashin.

Women: 100m, Emily Maher and Sarah Reilly; 200m, Ciara Sheehy; 1,500m, Elaine Fitzgerald, Sinead Delahunty, Breda Dennehy; 5,000m, Ann Keenan Buckley and Valerie Vaughan; 10,000m, Rosemary Ryan and Marie McMahon. 400m Hurdles, Adrienne McIvor; Marathon, Catherina McKiernan and Teresa Duffy; 100m Hurdles, Susan Smith.
The men’s 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relay teams have qualified as has the women’s 4 x 400m squad.

July 25th, 2000.  Susan and Elaine in Barcelona

Susan Smith Walsh got her build up to Sydney off to a flying start with her best 400m hurdles run since last year.  Conditions were extremely windy at the Olympic Stadium but, nothing daunted, Susan finished third in the women’s 400m hurdles with her "A" standard of 55.69secs behind the 54.57secs of Ulrike Urbansky of Germany, and there was nobody happier in the Olympic Stadium.  This was her best performance since last year. “It’s everything I could have hoped for at this point,” she said.  Elaine Fitzgerald had a disappointing run in the 1500m.  She never got to grips with the pace of the race and was always playing 'catch-up'.  Sinéad Delahunty finished third in this race behind the double Olympic champion, Svetlana Masterkova, in 4:05.08 - a time that was well inside the IAAF "A" standard set at 4:08.00.

James Nolan posted his qualifying standard for the Olympic Games finishing fifth in the 1500m in 3:36.80 - the exact "A" standard for Sydney 2000.  Mark Carroll crossed the line alongside him in sixth place in 3:36.91.  Behind them Colm McLean ran a personal best time of 3:40.42.