EILISH Flanagan reached for new heights at the Olympic Games overnight.

Flanagan was a late qualifier for the Games, booking her place in Tokyo via the rankings and aided by a superb performance at the eleventh hour.

Little was expected of the Gortin native, a new recruit at Finn Valley AC, but a massive six-second personal best in her 3000m steeplechase heat was vindication of her own belief.

In burning temperatures of 38 degrees, Flanagan clocked 9:34.86, besting the previous record of 9:40.68. Although not enough to qualify for the final, Flanagan will leave Tokyo ranked 25th in her event.

“It’s been incredible,” Flanagan said.

“I would like to have finished higher, but to be honest I’m pretty happy with that.

“To PB here in these conditions, on that stage, I know to a lot of people that wouldn’t have been enough. I’m decently happy with that. I’ve had a rocky enough season.

“To finally run a PB that I thought I was capable of running, I’m happy.

“I still can’t really get over the fact that I’m here. I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone at home. The support has been unbelievable. I’m so, so thankful.”

The 24-year-old Flanagan, a scholarship student at Adams State University, gave the performance of her life on her biggest stage yet.

Conditions tested her resolve as much as the competition, but Flanagan was undaunted as she turned in a determined display.

Already, she can look to the future.

She said: “If I PB’d today and I competed well, I was going to be happy. I wasn’t at the top end of the field, but I don’t think I was capable of that today. Hopefully in the years to come, I’ll be up there with this experience in me. It’s important to be realistic otherwise you feed into what other people think you’ll do.”



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