Comfortable qualification for Kelly Proper in Zurich, writes James Sullivan.

There was success for Ireland’s Kelly Proper on day three of the European Championships in Zurich. The Ferrybank AC athlete finished fourth in heat five of the women’s 200m this morning, with a clocking of 23.37, qualifying automatically for this evening’s semi-finals.

“That’s what it’s all about, getting through to the next round,” stated Proper, who was the 14th fastest qualifier from the heats. “I felt great, the conditions were good today and I went out and did what I had to do to get to the next round. My bend wasn’t as strong as it is usually but I think you always have in the back of your mind that, all going well, I’ll have another tough race tonight.”

Kelly Proper

The versatile 26 year old, who holds the Irish record for both long jump and heptathlon, was a little over two tenths outside her personal best of 23.16. To qualify for the final, a new PB, and possibly an Irish record, will be required in all likelihood, but the multiple Irish champion is not fazed by the challenge that lies ahead this evening.

“I think any athlete always, no matter how fast they ran, wants to run faster. No matter what, they always feel they can run a PB. I think that’s the nature of the sport, that’s why we work so hard. It would be great to make the final. I’ll have to run out of my skin. I’ll need to have a better run than I’ve ever had in my life.”

Having flirted with the heptathlon last year, 2014 has been a breakthrough year for Proper over the half lap distance. However the Waterford woman doesn’t believe she necessarily needs to specialise completely going forward. “I love to train, I love to get better at things, and no matter what it is, if you’re going well at it, you love it. So when the long jump is going well I love that, when this is going well I love it too. The heptathlon was good fun. As long as you’re enjoying yourself, you’re going to be successful.”

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