By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — Sonia O’Sullivan and records are usually inextricably linked, but it was the turn of others last weekend at Santry, where two world marks were set during the Irish national championships. First, walker Gillian O’Sullivan broke the previous record for the 5,000 meters with a time of 20 minutes 2.60 seconds, and then Terry McHugh established a record with his 19th consecutive javelin title.
O’Sullivan had the 5,000 record among her list of targets, but the Kerry walker never thought she would improve on Australia’s Kerry Saxby-Junna’s best by more than 10 seconds. “I did think I was going well enough to get close,” she said, “and the longer the race went on, the more confident I became.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Dave Norris had previously held the world record for the most consecutive national titles only for McHugh to equal it last year, and this time McHugh went one better with first throw of 71.56 meters.
As preparation for the European championships in Munich, Germany next month, the meet couldn’t have gone better for Sonia O’Sullivan. She eased home to retain her 800 meters title, and then barely 20 minutes later she dominated the 5,000 meters to come home in a time of 15 minutes, 20.11 seconds, a full 10 seconds inside the qualifying time for the European tests.
Elsewhere, Paul McKee broke the national 400 meters record with a time of 45.58, while Mark Carroll did the double over 1500 and 5000 meters.
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