European Championships: McMahon through to Zurich semis

Christine McMahon ran impressively to qualify for the 400m hurdles semi-finals in Zurich
Christine McMahon will compete in the 400m hurdles semi-finals on Thursday evening

Christine McMahon ran impressively to earn an unexpected qualification from the women's 400m hurdles heats at the European Championships in Zurich.

The Glengormley runner's time of 57.16 earned her third place and automatic progression to Thursday's semi-finals.

Meanwhile Amy Foster failed to make the 100m final after finishing eighth in her semi-final in 11.79 seconds.

The Newtownards sprinter had taken fifth in her heat in 11.51 to secure a fastest loser's place.

McMahon had luck on her side as the false-start disqualification of Denmark's Sara Petersen reduced the field to five.

Ukraine's Hanna Ryzhykova then fell at the final hurdle when looking likely to win the heat.

That let in Portugal's Vera Barbosa to win in 55.85 ahead of Switzerland's Petra Fontaine [56.85] and McMahon, 22.

McMahon, who runs for the Antrim and Ballymena club, had to move smartly to avoid contact with Ryzhykova after the 2012 European bronze medallist crashed to the ground.

Mark English didn't look as composed on Wednesday as in his opening heat
Mark English squeezed into Friday's 800m final after finishing fourth in his semi-final

She set a personal best of 56.97 earlier in the summer but then produced a disappointing run when exiting in the first round at the Commonwealth Games.

Letterkenny's Mark English clinched a place in Friday's 800m final after finishing fourth in his semi-final in a time of 1 minute 46.23 seconds to clinch a fastest loser's spot.

English didn't look as composed as his opening heat on Tuesday as he was passed by Poland's Arthur Kuciapski and Denmark's Andreas Bube in the closing 80 metres as championship favourite Frenchman Pierre-Ambroise Bosse took victory.

The Irishman then faced an anxious wait for the second semi-final but that race was won by Poland's Adam Kszczot in a slower 1:47.12 as English secured his final spot.

Irish 400m runners Brian Gregan and Richard Morrissey both missed out on a final place.

Gregan was unfortunate to be drawn in the toughest of the three semi-finals as he could only finish sixth despite producing a season's best of 45.81.

The Irishman's time was .04secs faster than opening semi-final winner Britain's Conrad Williams.

Gregan's team-mate Richard Morrissey placed eighth in his semi-final in 46.64 some .44secs slower than his personal best set on Tuesday.

Irish 400m hopeful Thomas Barr bowed out at the semi-final stage in disappointing fashion as his third place in 49.30 did not prove enough to progress.

Barr set his personal best of 48.90 in June which moved him to the top of the European rankings at that stage but while he did occupy the second fastest loser spot after his semi-final, the 48.96 clocking by third heat third-placer Germany's Felix Franz knocked out the Irishman as he finished 10th overall.

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