Marvelous Mark English has revealed the fear of letting his family down drove him on to win a superb bronze medal at the European Championships.
The 21 year old Letterkenny man ran the race of his life to finish in a time of 1.45.03 in what has been his biggest test to date.
Mark, a medical student at UCD, revealed “All my family were here and I have perhaps not done as well in other races when they were there.
“I didn’t want that to happened again and I’m just so pleased I could do them proud today.”
English said he just decided to relax on the way to the track in Zurich in Switzerland and revealed he had a very calm mood chatting to the taxi-driver who took him to the stadium.
He switched tactics and decided to sit back for the first 600 metres and then to give it his all in the last two hundred metres.
“I am absolutely delighted, I felt really relaxed that’s why it went so well I think. I really enjoyed that, the last 100m was unbelievable. I ‘am happy with bronze. I knew Bosse was beatable. It’s fantastic, it’s not just for me, it’s for everyone who supported me. My whole family are here.”
Pre-race favourite Bosse of France set a fast early pace going through the bell in 50.97 seconds. English was running a smart race sitting in sixth place but never too far off the leaders. Bosse continued to push the pace hitting the 600m mark in 87.24 seconds with English starting to motor in fifth place.
The last 100m was special for the Irishman as he powered down the finishing straight to win the bronze medal in a season’s best time of 1.45.03. Polish athletes Adam Kszczot and Artur Kuciapski won the gold and silver respectively.
English said “I had two goals coming into this season, to win a medal here and break the Irish record. I’ll look for one and two more races now to try and do that. “
English becomes Ireland seventh ever medalist at these championships joining Irish greats such as Sonia O’Sullivan and Eamonn Coghlan.
He also becomes only the second Irish athlete along with Derval O’Rourke to win a medal at these championships in the last ten years, a remarkable achievement.
High Performance director Kevin Ankrom said “We have experienced the high and lows of sport today. I am delighted for Mark, as a group supporting him that’s what makes it all the more sweeter. We’re all very proud of Mark. All his hard work is paying off, I am delighted that these young athletes are starting to bridge the gap from the junior ranks to the seniors, we will continue to develop that.”