Evan Hallinan put in an exhilarating series of jumps today in the European U20 DNA event in Madrid. Pitted against the Spanish athlete in round 1, Evan nominated 1.90 as his height with the Spanish athlete nominating 1.98 (just slightly higher than Evan’s PB of 1.96m incidentally – a tactical choice by the Spaniard who has a PB of 2.12).
Evan had to jump first and soared over the 1.90m. However, the Spanish athlete did likewise over the 1.98m mark to take the honours in the match.
The Spaniard had earlier lost his first match against the British athlete – where he had knocked his nominated height of 2.03 and the British athlete cleared his nominated height of 1.96m.
Up next against the British athlete, Evan nominated 1.93 while his opponent nominated 1.96. Again Evan soared over the 1.93m while the British athlete just clipped 1.96 with his heels to give Evan the victory.
With all 3 athletes having won a match each, each athlete was on 3 points so the ranking was determined by who had jumped highest – so it was Spain 1.98 GB 1.96 and Ireland 1.93.
Group B was on at the same time where there were a lot of knocked bars. Both the French and Czech athletes knocked their heights of 2.00 and 1.97 in the opening match. The Czech cleared 1.95 in the second match against his Portuguese opponent who knocked 1.85. While in the final match of group B, both the Portuguese and French athletes knocked their heights of 1.86 and 1.96. This left group B ranked as the Czech athlete in the lead with 3 points and France and Portugal tied on 0 points but France ranked second by virtue of having knocked a higher nominated height!
Onto the final where the winner of each group faced each other for 1st and 2nd place overall – Spain vs the Czech Republic; 2nd place in both groups against each other for 3rd/4th place overall – Great Britain vs France; and 3rd place in each group for 5th/6th place overall – Ireland vs Portugal.
A slightly different group seeding would have suited Evan as he was the only athlete to have cleared both of his nominated heights in the rounds. And incidentally Evan’s match against the Spaniard was the only one in which both athletes cleared their nominated heights – a clear sign of the pressure that the unique nature of this event created.
Evan and the Portuguese athlete were the first to go in the final with Evan nominating 1.91 and the Portuguese 1.85. The latter was first to go and came down on top of the 1.85 height. Advantage Evan who lined up for his 1.91 attempt but alas it was not to be this time, just pulling the bar off with his heels as he flew over it. But nonetheless a fantastic performance by Evan who jumped within 3cm of his PB … the closest any other athlete got to their PB being the British athlete who jumped 9cm below his PB.
Evan’s performance earned 5th place for Ireland in the event with the remaining matches decided with France clearing 1.95 and Great Britain knocking 2m to put France 3rd and GB 4th and Spain and the Czech Republic knocking their final heights of 2.07 and 1.98 to share the spoils in the battle for 1st and 2nd.
Overall a fantastic event for Evan and great experience and one in which he dealt very well with the high-octane pressure of a winner-takes-all international. And we have to get a set of those high-jump uprights for Craughwell which lit up in green for a clearance or in blue for a knocked bar !
And well done also to rest of the Irish team and in particular the other Galway athletes – Liam Shaw (Athenry AC), David Mannion (South Galway) and Emma Moore (GCH). Three current or former Presentation College Athenry Students on the Irish team is a mighty achievement!