Ireland’s Kate Veale, West Waterford A.C’s young race walking star added a bronze medal to her ever growing collection in the Junior women’s 10km event at this year’s European Cup of Race Walking in Olhao near Faro on Saturday
The 17 year old West Waterford AC athlete defeated some top quality opposition when finishing third in extremely hot conditions and finished ahead of more favoured competitors from Italy, Germany, Britain, the Ukraine and one of the three highly favoured Russian team-members.
Kate Veale’s time of 46:32 seconds shaved some 11 seconds off her own Irish record set at the World Youth Olympics in Singapore last year.
The gold in Olhao went to the exceptionally talented Yelana Lashmanova who won comfortably in 43:10, and the silver to her team-mate Svetlana Vasilyeva in 44.02.
“I am surprised but delighted with my performance” said Veale after securing bronze.
“It’s fabulous to be here competing against the best in the world, and even sweeter to win a medal. It was very warm but the venue was great and so was the circuit.”
The young Waterford girl, later paid this tribute to her coach,Jamie Costin, four times an Olympian for Ireland at race walking.
“My inspiration is my coach and club mate Jamie Costin. He’s been to the Olympics four times, and made sure I peaked just right,” she said. “The key was not to go off too fast, and it worked.”
While the London Olympics will come a little too soon for Veale she is a great future prospect.
Veale now plans to compete lin the European Junior and European U23 Championships later in the summer.
Whilst Veale’s was a great success story there was great disappointment for Loughrea’s Olive Loughnane who was fighting for first place in the final two kilometres of the women’s 10km event, when in the final stages of the race, she was unfortunately disqualified for lifting.
Loughnane was within a few metres of the Russian Sokolova who went on to take the the gold in 1:30.01 from her friend and fellow countrywoman Anyisa Kirdyapkina.
“I’m not sure if I would have caught the Russian – but it would have been close,” said a clearly disappointed Loughnane. “I was hunting the gold medal and maybe I was hunting a little too hard, but I will bounce back and it will come together soon for me.” Loughnane who had received her first warning at 11km had no recollection of where she received her second and final warning flag.