The best of Ireland’s International and club athletes will battle it out for national titles at the GloHealth Senior Track and Field Championships in Morton Stadium, Santry on the 19th and 20th of July with a record number of 500 plus athletes set to compete. The star studded line-up includes Thomas Barr who is currently ranked number three in Europe over 400m Hurdles. The Waterford man has added to his building reputation by beating the reigning World Champion Jehue Gordon of Trinidad last week at the Morton Games.
Barr said “This is the pinnacle event of the Irish athletics national competition calendar, where the best of the best showcase their talent in front of a home crowd. The GloHealth championships are a key part of my preparation for the European championships in Zurich”
Mark English ranked fourth in Europe in the 800m, former double European Cross Country Champion Fionnuala Britton and last year’s athlete of the meet Kelly Proper are also set to compete. This will also be the last opportunity for athletes to achieve qualification standards for the European Track and Field Championships which take place in Zurich in August.
Jim Dowdall, CEO of GloHealth said, “GloHealth is delighted to be the title sponsor of the Senior Track and Field Championships where we will enjoy seeing Ireland’s finest athletes in action. With a stream of new faces and talent coming through, this is a very exciting time to be involved with athletics in Ireland.”
European’s Best Set to Compete
Thomas Barr (Ferrybank AC) who has had a breakthrough season this year running 48.90 in Geneva in June is looking to defend his 400m Hurdles title. His championships best performance of 50.06 set in 2011 may also well be under threat. Barr will compete against Jason Harvey (Cruasuders AC) who has also achieved the standard needed for the European Track and Field Championships.
Double European Cross Country Champion Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) will contest the 5000m as she builds up towards the 10000m race at the European Championships.
Mark English (UCD AC) will start as favourite in the Men’s 800m; his season’s best of 1.45.03 run at the New York Diamond League Meeting when he placed second puts him fourth on the European rankings. Declan Murray will also be looking to make a mark.
Fresh from hitting the European standard Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers) will be looking to further improve his season’s best of 45.94 he set at the Gugl meet in Austria Tuesday night.
Head to Head
The Men’s 1500m will be one of the races of the championships with the in-form Paul Robinson (St.Coco’s AC) looking to take on former World finalist Ciaran O’Lionaird (Leevale AC). Robinson who is the reigning 800m national champion has had a series of impressive runs already this year including setting a new personal best in the mile of 3.54.77 at the Oslo Diamond league in June. O’Lionaird who is continuing his comeback from an injury lay off will also have to contend with David McCarthy (West Waterford AC) and John Travers (Dunore Harriers) who have both secured the European qualification standard.
There is a great head to head expected in the women’s Pole Vault event between Zoe Brown (Raheny Shamrock AC) and Tori Pena (Finn Valley AC). Brown is having the season of her life having cleared a personal best of 4.45m at the Welsh Athletics International on the 14th of July equalling Irish Record Holder Pena’s season’s best.
Kelly Proper (Ferrybank AC) who was named athlete of the meet at last year’s national championships hit the European qualification standard last Friday night running 23.16 in Rhede, Germany, moving her to second on the Irish all-time list. The Waterford woman will also contest the 100m and her specialist event the long jump. Proper will need to be at her best in order to defend her 100m title with both Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) and Phil Healy (Bandon AC) in the line-up. Foster and Healy have both secured qualification for Zurich having run 11.40 and 11.53 respectively this year.
In the 800m Laura Crowe (An Riocht), Roseanne Galligan (Newbridge AC) and Ciara Everard (UCD AC) are all set to line up in what should be a thrilling race, with all three chasing European qualification and the national title. Crowe is the reigning 1500m champion and Galligan contested the 400m in 2013.
Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) will be looking for the title and European qualification of 13.65 for the 110m hurdles. Reynolds ran 13.63 at the AAI games however the wind of +2.1 was agonisingly just outside the legal limit of +2, therefore it will not count as a qualified. Sarah Lavin (UCD AC) will look to retain her 100m Hurdles title having already bagged the qualification standard.In both the women’s 100m and the men’s 400m athletes will be looking to lay down markers to ensure they are considered for selection for the relay teams which are set to compete at the European Championships.
This year’s GloHealth Senior Track and Field event will cater for both athletics fans and families alike with fun and activities from 11am to 5pm on the 20th of July 2014. The day starts with the GloHealth Mile Challenge taking place from 11-12pm. The fun will continue all day with face painting, competitions and the GloHealth Fitzone at which spectators can test their speed, jump ability, distance, reaction times and strength using state of the art equipment including speed gates, digital mats, BATAK reaction boards and digital grip dynamometers.
Tickets for the championships are on sale now and are priced at only €10 for adults with children under the age of 16 going free. For further information on tickets please visit www.athleticsireland.ie