European Championships: Amy Foster qualifies for 100m semis

Amy Foster equalled the Irish women's 100m record earlier this year with an 11.40 seconds clocking
Amy Foster dips as she reaches the finishing line in her first-round 100m heat in Zurich

Northern Ireland athlete Amy Foster has clinched a semi-final place in the 100m at the European Championship in Zurich.

The City of Lisburn runner finished fifth in her heat in a time of 11.51 seconds which earned her the final fastest loser's spot.

Jason Harvey exited from the 400m hurdles but Letterkenny athlete Mark English produced a hugely impressive run to win his 800m heat.

Fionnuala Britton finished eighth in the women's 10,000m.

Twice European Cross Country champion Britton was fourth in the 10,000m at these championships two years ago but has not been at her best this summer and rarely threatened in Tuesday's race won by 40-year-old Briton Jo Pavey.

Britton, who will also run the marathon at the championships, was in the middle of the pack for the majority of the race but was unable to stay with the leaders as the pace was increased at the 9,000m mark.

The Irish woman's time of 32:32.45 left her 10 seconds adrift of Pavey who finished ahead of French athletes Clemence Calvin and Laila Traby.

In his earlier 800m heat, English passed Britain's Andrew Osagie with 200m left as he won in 1:47.38.

Mark English looks to be a genuine medal contender in Zurich
Letterkenny athlete Mark English looks satisfied after his impressive 800m heat win on Tuesday

On Tuesday's evidence, English looks to be a genuine medal contender although he will face a tougher task in Wednesday evening's semi-finals.

Osagie, who clocked a world class 1:43.77 in the Olympic final two years ago, failed to make the semi-finals as he faded badly to finish fifth behind English, with the Briton complaining of a back injury after the race.

The Donegal man will also not be joined by team-mate Declan Murray in the semi-finals as he finished seventh in his heat in 1:50.01 after appearing to be clipped from behind at the 650m mark in his heat.

Sprinter Foster does have a semi-final to look forward to on Wednesday evening after her battling heat performance.

Foster, who equalled the Irish record earlier this season with a 11.40 clocking, had a nervous wait after placing fifth in heat two but in the end, it proved just enough to progress.

Harvey failed to progress in the 400m hurdles although his team-mate and medal contender, Thomas Barr, did qualify as he won his heat in 49.79.

Hurdler Jason Harvey has been bothered by injury since just before the Commonwealth Games
Jason Harvey exited from the men's 400m hurdles at the first-round stage

Harvey, who has been struggling since picking up an ankle injury before the Commonwealth Games, was seventh in his heat with a time of 51.91.

Northern Ireland man Harvey set his personal best of 50.13 last season and his 2014 best is 50.64.

"Just not meant to be at these championships," said Harvey on Twitter after his heat.

"Gave it everything but didn't work out."

Foster's Irish team-mate, Cork athlete Phil Healy just missed out on joining the Ulsterwoman in the 100m semi-finals as she clocked 11.53 to finish sixth in her heat.

Irish 400m runners Brian Gregan and Richard Morrissey both clinched semi-final places.

Gregan, fifth at the last European Championships in 2012, secured automatic qualification after finishing third in his heat in 46.33 behind Britain's Matthew Hudson-Smith [46.07] and Israel's Donald Sanford [46.18].

Morrissey was rated as an outsider to make the semi-finals but ran superbly to cut .22secs off his personal best as his time of 46.20 earned a fastest loser's berth.

Sarah Lavin bowed out of the women's 100m hurdles as her time of 13.35 - .12secs outside her personal best - left her last in her heat.

Foster, Barr, English, Gregan and Morrisey will all be involved in semi-final action in Wednesday's evening session with Ballymena & Antrim's Christine McMahon competing in the women's 400m hurdles heats in the morning.

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