Orla Walsh Reaches 1/16 Finals of Sprint as Alice Sharpe Takes 11th in Elimination Race at Track World Championships

Ireland’s World Championships continued Thursday as Orla Walsh competed in the Women’s Sprint and Alice Sharpe contested the Women’s Elimination Race in Paris. 

Walsh successfully reached the 1/16 Finals with a strong qualifying time – less than 0.2 seconds off the national record she set at the European Championships in August.  

And Sharpe was in action in the evening session as she lined out in the Women’s Elimination Race – finishing 11th in a field of 24 riders. 

Walsh began her World Championships with an encouraging time of 11.079s in the heats early in the afternoon and had already guaranteed progression over half the field yet to race. 

She faced Great Britain’s Sophie Capewell – who qualified with a time of 10.492s - in the 1/16 Finals, but narrowly missed out in the sprint by 0.126s. 

Walsh said:  

“I’m happy enough with how I performed, the 11.079s is not far off my PB time anyway. It’s been quite a long season and I’ve been improving with each race so there comes a point where you need to take a step back and train.” 
“It (the time) was pretty much close to what I was doing in training anyway, so it was what I was expecting. It would’ve been nice to go faster than my PB but there’s always next year!” 
“I have the 500m (TT) which is nice, I like it. That’s just full gas out of the gate and it would be nice to do a PB time there. I don’t know where the legs are at with the 500m to be honest because it isn’t an Olympics event, so I was focusing on the sprint. It’ll just be another race in the legs, we’ll see how I go and I’ll try and enjoy it.” 

In the evening session, Sharpe started well a competitive field of 24 riders, comfortably avoiding elimination in the opening laps. 

But as the field began to whittle down and the competition to avoid elimination intensified, a crash at the rear of the group ruled out a number of riders. 

Sharpe avoided the crash but later in the race found herself boxed in late in a lap and was narrowly eliminated in 11th place. 

Sharpe said:  

“I’m kind of disappointed with the result, I would’ve liked to have been a bit further up there, but I can take confidence from it going into the Madison on Saturday (with Mia Griffin). My legs felt good, but my positioning wasn’t so great in the finish and I got caught out.” 
“It’s annoying that it was my awareness rather than my legs but at the same time I can take that confidence going into the Madison. We had a good race back in Canada a few months ago so hopefully we can replicate a performance like that again. We’re both in a good place and motivated so we’re excited to see what we can do.” 

On Friday, Emily Kay will race in the Women’s Omnium – beginning with a Scratch Race and followed by a Tempo Race, Elimination Race and concluding with a Points Race. 

More information on this week’s schedule can be found here. 

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