Thursday, September 10, 2020

NEW Irish under 200m sprint champion, Marcus Lawler, got an offer he couldn’t refuse last week when he was invited to complete in the Diamond Athletics meeting which took place behind closed doors at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.

Marcus Lawler ahead of running in the Diamond League in Brussels last week

He got the word on Wednesday, booked his flight immediately and was in Brussels the following day.

After his success in the national championships the previous week he didn’t have any further races on the horizon. Then came the Brussels offer.

I couldn’t turn it down. I had to go,” he said.

On his arrival in Belgium he underwent a Covid test which came back negative. He was free to compete.

Wearing his Joma sponsored gear he says he ran well but in a high class field he had to settle for eighth place.

The problem about going to a big Diamond League you are up against world class athletes with really world class agents and managers. The agents and managers are big players in deciding what lane you get. I knew I was going to be screwed into lane 1,” Marcus explained.

The Carlow man doesn’t often get placed on the inside lane. He found it difficult.

It is so tight. It is very hard to build momentum. Normally on the bend I feel ready to let loose and open up. I felt controlled and having to steer myself around the bend. It is tight to the kerb on the inside. It was difficult to steer myself around the bend. I finished last but wasn’t trailed off. I would have loved to pick off a few lads in lane 6, 7 or 8. If it was a different lane draw I do feel the result would have been slightly different.

I felt I had run well. The field was hot.”

In the rooms before the race he said the virtual crowd effects, the music and the announcements made it feel as if the stadium was rocking. Even when he went onto the track he felt the atmosphere.

It is a massive statement but obviously it was empty. With all the sound you would swear it was full. Only that you looked up and saw no-one you would swear it was full,” said Lawler.

You can view Lawler’s race from the 40 minute mark on the below video

By Kieran Murphy

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