Athletics: Lynsey will need to be Sharp against field of top runners

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LYNSEY Sharp (Edinburgh AC) has drawn a corker of a semi-final in the 800 metres at the European Championships in Helsinki later today.

Needing a fast race to help her attain the UK Athletics A qualifying standard for the London Olympics of 1:59.90, new UK champion Sharp faces four runners who have run faster than her and three who have broken the two-minute barrier, Tetyana Petlyuk of Ukraine who has run 1:57.34, Yelena Arzhakova of Russia, who has a best of 1:58.28, and Mirela Lavric of Romania, whose best is 1:59.74.

If Petlyu decides to set the pace and keep out of trouble, Sharp, whose main aim in Finland is a fast time and not a medal, could possibly be towed round and achieve her target without necessarily reaching the final.

But if the pace is slow and the 21-year-old Napier University graduate reaches the final she will of course get another chance tomorrow.

Other Scots in action today are Mark Dry in the qualifying round of the hammer, and Lee McConnell, who reached the semi-finals of the 400 metres after finishing second in 52.58 in her first round heat yesterday.