Derval O’Rourke made an encouraging start to the new season when she finished a close second in the final of the women’s 60 metres hurdles at the Gugl Indoor meeting in Linz, Austria last night.
Derval, running in her first race in over five months, clocked 8.16 seconds, and will be pleased by the fact that her time was well inside the European Indoor Championship qualifying standard of 8.20, after just returning from a heavy training programme in South Africa.
Derval was just edged out by American Yvette Lewis who won in 8.11, but this was the first competition under the belt for the 29-year old Cork woman and will now begin her drive to be sharper and more finely tuned for the European Indoor Championships in Paris early next month.
Derval expects that it will take a couple of races to get herself to near peak racing fitness. When she won an excellent bronze medal in the European Indoor Championships two years ago in 7.97, her best time going into the event was 8.05.
Ailis McSweeney scored an impressive victory in the 60 metres, winning in a blanket finish in 7.39 seconds, just short of her best of 7.34 which she ran in Germany last week, and which was well inside the European 2011 indoor standard.