Mageean and Reynolds Prepare for Europeans
17 February 2017
Top local international athletes Ciara Mageean and Ben Reynolds will be using this weekend’s Irish Life Indoor Athletics Championships at Abbotstown as an opportunity to test their abilities on route to the bigger challenges in the European Championships in Belgrade in two weeks’ time.
24-year-old Mageean's preparations for Belgrade were knocked somewhat off course with a mid-week 5th place in a high powered 1,500 metres race at the Athlone International. The European outdoor bronze medallist was never up with the leaders in a race where the Romanian Claudia Bobocea set a ferocious pace to destroy the opposition and cross the line in a PB time of 4 mins 8.19 secs ahead of Australia's Zoe Buckman
Portaferry's Mageean struggled to close the gap and eventually finished with a time of 4.12.46. However, afterwards she revealed she had raced with a cold. The UCD student commented; "I hate making excuses and people hearing about a cold. However, it is still early days and my first step onto the track since last summer."
This weekend the Mageean may opt for the 3,000 metres where she is in a class of her own with a sub 9 mins NI record time from a year ago, also in the field, will be title holder Kerry O'Flaherty of Newcastle who finished 6th in last week's British Champs.
Kerry, who is the fastest Irish woman this year will be joined by second quickest Emma Mitchell of QUB. Both these girls will be delighted with their PB performances over 1,500 metres behind Mageean in Athlone. Like last year O'Flaherty may again go for the double by also racing over 1,500 metres where the lower quality opposition could well ensure another gold for the 35-year-old.
North Down's Ben Reynolds will again be in a class of his own in the high hurdles where his recent 7.77 secs time has already qualified him for Belgrade. Ben has happy memories of these championships from last year when he set a PB of 7.73 secs.
Reynolds will be undaunted by the challenges of Belgrade as he has already competed in the World Champs back in 2012.
Ballymena sprinters Dean Adams and Jonathan Browning will be disappointed if they do not feature in the medals over 60 metres as they are currently ranked 2nd and 4th respectively in Ireland.