Team Ireland’s Felix English came within metres of winning a medal in the Men’s Scratch Race at the European Games today. It was the first day of track cycling at the Games, and English finished fourth in the 15km race. Lydia Boylan was also in action, racing in the Women’s Points Race, where she finished 11th with five points.
In the qualifying rounds of the Gymnastics All Around, Adam Steele and Emma Slevin finished just outside the top eighteen and are listed as first reserves for the Finals this weekend.
Sixty three Irish athletes are competing across nine sports at the European Games in Minsk from the 21-30 June.
Cycling – Track
There was disappointment for Felix English this evening in the Men’s Scratch Race, as an extremely tight finish saw him pipped on the line by Belarusian Yauheni Karaliok to leave English in fourth place. The race, which is well known in Irish cycling circles following Martyn Irvine’s 2013 World Championship win in the very same velodrome as this evening’s race, was a tough test of endurance, speed and patience, and despite Irvine being trackside coaching the athletes, it just wasn’t enough to help English over a tantalisingly close bronze medal line.
“It was a very stop-starty race, the pace was on and off,” a frustrated English said afterwards. “Everyone was watching each other really closely, as we haven’t seen each other since March so no one knows how everyone is going. I was convinced I had at least third, and coming over the line a guy came past me with five metres to go. I didn’t see him coming.”
Earlier in the evening, Lydia Boylan competed in the Women’s Points Race final – a 25km race, which is 100 laps of the track, with points being awarded every ten laps for the first over the line. The winner is the rider with the most points at the end of the 25km. World silver medallist Boylan went on the leader board in the early stages of the race, winning the second sprint lap, and gaining five points. In the opening half, however, two riders lapped the field pushing Boylan further down. With fifteen laps to go, the Dubliner attacked in an effort that almost worked but she had to settle for eleventh at the end of the 100 laps.
Speaking after the race she said, “The field was pretty mixed, with strong riders, and some really good sprinters in there, making it quite different tactically. Between me, Martyn and Brian we came up with some good tactics, and I tried to stick to them as much as possible – and I tried to score in an early sprint. I really committed to that. I think my legs aren’t quite where they could have been.”
Trackside with the team as a coach was former World Champion Martyn Irvine who won his title in this velodrome.
Tomorrow is another action packed day for Team Ireland with track cycling, badminton and boxing on the schedule.
Women’s Points Race: Lydia Boylan 11th on 5 Points.
Gold Ganna Solovei (Ukraine)
Silver Verena Eberhardt (Austria)
Bronze Jarmila Machacova (Cech Republic)
Men’s Scratch Race: Felix English 4th
Gold Christos Volikanis (Greece)
Silver Filip Kazimierz Prokopyszn (Poland)
Bronze Yauheni Karaliok (Belarus)
Men’s All Around Qualifying Round: Adam Steele 78.097 (20th Place)
Floor 13.633, Horizontal Bar 12.866, Parallel Bars 12.333, Pommel Horse 13.133, Rings 12.366, Vault 13.766
Women’s All Around Qualifying Round: Emma Slevin 48.865 (21st Place)
Floor 11.733, Beam 11.733, Uneven Bars 12.266, Vault 13.133
DAY EIGHT – SCHEDULE (IRISH TIMES)
Mixed Doubles Quarter Final
Robin Tabeling & Selena Piek (NED) v Chloe Magee & Sam Magee (IRL), 8.40
Robyn Stewart, 11.35
Women’s Team Pursuit
Ireland v Ukraine, 12.35
(Shannon McCurley, Mia Griffin, Lydia Gurley, Orla Walsh)
Orla Walsh, 18.00
Men’s Points Race
Marc Potts, 18.35
Women’s Featherweight 57kg
Michaela Walsh (IRL) v Daria Abramova (RUS), 12.00
Women’s Welterweight 69kg
Karolina Koszewska (POL) v Grainne Walsh (IRL), 12.45
Women’s Lightweight 60kg
Kellie Harrington (IRL) v Agnes Alexiusson (SWE), 17.00
Men’s Light Flyweight 49kg
Regan Buckley (IRL) v Artur Hovhannisyan (ARM), 18.15
Men’s Bantamweight 56kg
Peter McGrail (GBR) v Kurt Walker (IRL), 18.30
Men’s Middleweight 75kg
Salvatore Cavallaro (ITA) v Michael Nevin (IRL), 19.45