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Sharlene Mawdsley, as she awaits the result of her dramatic heat. Morgan Treacy/INPHO
World Indoor Championships

Sharlene Mawdsley qualifies for 400m world final as Sarah Healy falls in 1500m heat

Mawdsley was an automatic qualifier after a three-way tie for second place.

IRELAND’S SHARLENE MAWDSLEY has qualified for the final of the 400m at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow. 

Mawdsley reached this evening’s semi-finals after a dramatic heat, in which she finished in a three-way tie for second place to earn an automatic qualification position. 

Mawdsley ran in the third heat, which was won by American Talitha Diggs in 52.17. Mawdsley finished strongly to force her way through a gap either side of challengers Amandine Brossier (France), and Henriette Jaeger (Norway). 

Incredibly, the trio could not be separated, and after a lengthy wait, all three were deemed to have tied for second place, in a time of 52.23. All three were therefore sent through to the semi-finals as automatic qualifiers. 

Lieke Klaver of the Netherlands was the fastest qualifier across all four heats, finishing in 51.31. Her compatriot Femke Bol cruised to victory in the fourth and final heat, in a time of 52.00. 

Klaver then ran in the same semi-final as Mawdsley, with the Dutch athlete receiving a warning for a false start before the race restarted.

Mawdsley found herself in fourth place approaching the home straight before a strong finish pushed the Tipperary native into third, finishing with a time of 52.16.

Klaver won the race in 51.18 with the Diggs second at 51.28.

Bol won the second semi-final (50.66), with the USA’s Alexis Holmes (50.99) and Great Britain’s Laviai Nielsen (51.44) also advancing.

Mawdsley will return to compete in tomorrow’s final, which is scheduled for 9pm.

“I’m a bit speechless,” Mawdsley told Virgin Media.

“Honestly I can’t believe it. The race was so messy, so to get into the top three, I’m absolutely ecstatic.

“I think everyone kind of came at once and it was make or break, I had to make a decision and I probably made a bit too much of a move on the back straight but it paid off in the end and I’m really, really thrilled.

“Honestly, to be in a final, I can only dream of these sort of things.”

Earlier, a fast start from Israel Olatunde saw him finish fourth in a season’s best time of 6.70 in Heat 3 of the 60m. 

The Tallaght AC sprinter finished just outside the automatic qualifying spots, sitting in third position of the non-automatic qualifying places.

Unfortunately, his time was not enough to progress to this evening’s semi-finals. 

Elsewhere, a late fall proved costly for Sarah Healy in the 1500m heats.

Healy was pushing for a top three finish before a collision saw the Dubliner tumble on the home straight – her sixth-place finish with a time of 4:18.86 not enough to see her advance.

“I wouldn’t say I ran very smart,” Healy said.

“I felt great and totally in control until the last few metres, but I’ve no idea then what happened. That doesn’t normally happen to me so it’s really disappointing.

“I honestly have no words. It’s quite embarrassing really because it’s just not what I came here to do.”

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