Pollock Cleared For Rio Following Court of Arbitration Decision while Mageean sets another NI Record

25 July 2016

Annadale's marathon runner Paul Pollock was finally cleared at the weekend to compete in the Rio Olympics following the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport to dismiss an appeal lodged by Clonliffe's Sergiu Ciobanu regarding his omission from the Irish team.

Ciobanu had argued that he should have been selected as his marathon time was some 24 secs faster than that of Pollock. However in the recent European Half Marathon in Amsterdam Holywood's Pollock was nearly 3 mins faster than Ciobanu when he finished as first Irishman in 17th position. 

The Court stated that it did not consider that there was "any failure on behalf of Athletics Ireland to either follow or apply the relevant selection policy properly construed." Athletics Ireland welcomed the decision and said it had been a very difficult task selected three Irish athletes for Rio from a total of seven who were qualified. 

This now confirms that 3 NI athletes will represent Ireland in the marathon events in Rio.  Pollock plus Kevin Seaward of St Malachys will race in the Men's event while North Belfast's Breege Connolly will compete in the Women's race.

Meanwhile in the Morton Games in Dublin Rio bound middle distance star Ciara Mageean set yet another NI record when she was timed at 2 mins 00.79 secs in the 800 metres event. This beats her previous PB by over 2 secs and breaks Amanda Crowe's long standing record of 2.01.83 set in the Commonwealth Games back in 1998.

24 year old Ciara who will race over 1,500 metres in Rio fought a close battle at Santry with Britain's Alex Bell who just got the verdict on the line with a time of 2.00.53.

Ulster's Mark English who is also Rio bound was pleased with a season's best time at the weekend over 800 metres in the Anniversary Games in London. In a super-fast race he finished 7th in a time of 1 min 45.36 secs. In the steeplechase event Ireland's Sara Treacy who will also be racing in Rio was highly satisfied with her 6th place in a new PB of 9 mins 39.41 secs.