"That's one of the best races I've ever had" - Coscoran kicks like a demon to seize the day 1 month ago

"That's one of the best races I've ever had" - Coscoran kicks like a demon to seize the day

For Ireland, there have been many hard luck stories, more disappointed faces and lots of tales of woe from Tokyo 2020.

It's the cold, hard truth of it that, in a competition against the world's best, it's no strange thing nor is it any shame for the whole experience to end in heartache.

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But the performance of Balbriggan's Andrew Coscoran, which has seen him exceed expectations to qualify for the semi-finals of the men's 1500m in his first Olympic Games, is a success story told with a glowing smile.

Good on him getting the track-side seats, the trip to Tokyo, the experience of a lifetime and all that jazz but even at the best of times, you wouldn't envy David Gillick. Track-side reporter is the RTÉ man's official line of duty but more often than not, what with all the cajoling, consoling and reasoning, the former 400m runner finds himself doing the work of a psychologist, a sounding board and a grief counsellor all at once.

Gillick had a day off this Tuesday because Andrew Coscoran didn't need any pick-me-ups.

Having found himself in the most stacked of heats in the most stacked of events, it was always going to be a tough ask for Coscoran to advance to the next round but the Dublin track club-man got a stroke of luck and he seized his moment. Racing in the third and final heat of the day, the 24-year-old would have had a good idea that a fast-time would do the job having watched two slow and cagey opening heats.

This one wasn't cagey, it was fast from the gun and having glued himself to the heals and backside's of the world's best, Coscoran braved it through the stifling Tokyo temperatures before kicking like a demon to take a third fastest loser spot. It was an experienced performance from a relatively inexperienced athlete who, along with Thomas Barr and Leon Reid, became one of the only Irish track and field athletes to advance from the heats of their individual events. It's a tremendous achievement from a man who, just a couple of years ago, was disillusioned with his sport after mixed experience in the American collegiate scene.

"I'm chuffed," Coscoran beamed afterwards. I knew coming into this that I was ranked 41st in the Road to Toyko rankings so I knew it would take something big to get to the semi-finals. I just went out there and hurt.

"It's hot, uncomfortable, I knew a lot of lads would struggle with the pressure and the heat, but I went to hurt and it was good enough."

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While many athletes side with exaggerated positivity and others stand totally disconsolate, you'd have to admire the touch of realism in Coscoran's tones.

"At the end of the day, I probably wasn't supposed to make the semis."

"I was probably going to be an also-run, but I'm in the semis now so it's time to re-evaluate. The confidence is up, but it's a different world here. I was technically the slowest guy in that race so I did well to get through and to be fair, that's one of the best races I've ever had, to be fair like!"

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