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Flying Flannery is the best of British

Niall Flannery during the kitting out session at St George's Park, Burton. (Picture:  David Davies/PA Wire) Niall Flannery during the kitting out session at St George's Park, Burton. (Picture: David Davies/PA Wire)

Friday, June 27, 2014
1:00 PM

Beagle is in red-hot form

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Newham & Essex Beagles athlete Niall Flannery goes into this weekend’s British Championships in red-hot form after claiming the prize scalp of Olympic London 2012 decathlon champion Ashton Eaton at the Golden Spike Ostrava IAAF World Challenge meeting.

Perfect warm conditions at the half-renovated stadium in the industrious eastern side of the Czech Republic, was a contributing factor to the 23-year-old’s winning personal best time of 48.80secs in the men’s 400m hurdles, taking him to the number one spot in the British and European rankings.

Estonia’s Mägi Rasmus followed in 48.87 while the American Eaton posted 48.94 for third place.

Flannery, who has now replaced Welshman Rhys Williams at the top of the domestic rankings, knew he had to be at his best to beat the Olympic gold medallist.

“It’s always nice to run a PB,” he said. “I’m really happy with that time and 
really happy with the conditions, I knew it would be a good race.”

And Flannery has great admiration for Eaton, who back in March retained his world indoor heptathlon title in 
Sopot, Poland, adding: “Ashton’s a world class athlete.

“He’s got world class within a few months of starting this 400m hurdles event so he is top quality – it’s always nice to beat people like that.

“He came up on me and I was able to work off him over the top bend and come past him on the straight.”

Newcastle-born Flannery is happy with his progress this season and hopes to pick up a first senior domestic title at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on Saturday evening.

“My season has so far been awesome, no complaints whatsoever,” he said.

“I’m feeling really strong and feeling really quick. Shaving those few tenths off each time is always nice.

“I will take great confidence going into the British champs and see what I can do there.”

Also in Ostrava fellow Newham & Essex Beagles Steve Lewis miserably failed to record a height in the men’s pole vault and will hope for better things in the trials at the weekend.

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