Athletes Gear up for Belfast International
04 July 2017
Seven local athletes who have achieved Commonwealth Games 2018 consideration standards will star alongside high-profile competitors from around the world as Athletics Northern Ireland host the annual Belfast International Athletics Meet at the Mary Peters Track tomorrow night (Wednesday 5th July 2017). The exciting programme of track and field events will kick off at 6pm.
Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers), Ben Reynolds (North Down AC), Mollie Courtney (Cheltenham AC), Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley AC), Adam McMullen (Crusaders AC), Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) and Dempsey McGuigan (Finn Valley AC) will be joined by Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC), Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC), Ben Fisher (City of Lisburn AC), Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Christian Robinson (City of Lisburn AC), Craig Newell (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Lauren Roy (City of Lisburn AC), Anna McCauley (City of Lisburn AC) and Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim AC), amongst others, as local talent aim to impress on home soil against a star studded line-up.
NI & Ulster Senior 100m and 200m Champion Leon Reid is an athlete in the form of his life at the moment. Just last weekend he took Bronze at the British Championships to set a new Northern Ireland 200m record of 20.38 whilst reaching the Gold Coast consideration standard. The Birchfield Harriers man will compete in the 100m (PB 10.33) and 200m (PB - 20.38). In the 100m, Leon will come up against Derry Track Club’s Paralympic superstar Jason Smyth (PB - 10.22) and former Australian Junior Champion Michael Konomanyi (PB - 10.57). In the 200m, Leon will again face Michael Konomany as well as England’s Connor Wood (PB - 21.08).
Leon will also line up alongside fellow NI men Dean Adams, Christian Robinson and Jason Smyth in the 4 x 100m relay. The talented quartet have been selected to represent Athletics NI at the upcoming Anniversary Games in London this coming weekend and tomorrow will take on impressive Welsh and Scottish teams.
In the 110m hurdles, Ben Reynolds will resume battle with Danish star Andreas Martinsen, the man he defeated en-route to bettering the Commonwealth Games consideration standard in Denmark last month. That night, Ben ran 13.60 for victory, while Andreas recorded 13.66 for the runners up spot.
Mollie Courtney (PB - 13.28) will headline the impressive ladies 100m hurdles field which also contains rising star Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC). Megan will be out to impress with the aim of taking 0.23 off her current 13.68 personal best. The strong field also contains Scotland’s Heather Paton (PB - 13.47), Janke Van Wyk (PB - 13.86) of South Africa and England’s Jade Simson (PB - 14.21). Commonwealth Youth Games competitors, Lauren Evans (Wales, PB - 14.11) and Anna McCauley (City of Lisburn AC, PB - 14.06) will also be competing in this Ladies 100m hurdles event; they will be using the U18 heights.
Star performer Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley, PB - 1.85m) will be in the running for the High Jump, however Poland’s Aneta Rydz (PB - 1.87m) will be a hard competitor to shake. Sommer has already achieved the Commonwealth Games Gold Coast Standard, and this will be her last high-level competition ahead of the Commonwealth Youth Games later this month. There are a number of athletes both locally and internationally in this field that will make this a very high standard competition, including England’s Emily Borthwick (PB - 1.83m) and Kate Anson (PB - 1.80m).
2017 NI & Ulster Long Jump Champion and Commonwealth Games hopeful Adam McMullen (PB - 7.85m) will be the star attraction but recent GB U20 representative and England U20 Champion Ben Fisher (PB - 7.32m) will be worth watching. Both athletes will face strong opposition from Colm Bourke, Ireland (PB - 7.29m), David Martin (PB - 7.40m) and Allan Hamilton (PB - 7.88m) of Scotland, and England’s Paul Ogun (PB - 7.79m).
In the 1500m, Danny Mooney will have one eye on the 3:41.10 Commonwealth Games standard after going just over one second outside it in Belgium when he ran 3:42.74 in May (2017). In the 400m two of NI athletes selected for the European U23 Championships will battle for the victory (Craig Newell PB 47.27 and Andrew Mellon PB 46.80), while 400m hurdler Christine McMahon is more than capable of taking 0.35 off her season’s best of 58.05; this would see the Ballymena & Antrim AC athlete attain the CWG standard. Christine faces competitors from South Africa, Poland and Scotland.
Hammer specialist Dempsey McGuigan has enjoyed some excellent early season performances in America, which included a 69.45m personal best and CWG standard at the Florida Relays back in April (2017). The Finn Valley AC star will need to be in top form as he will take on two other athletes with PB’s over 70m (Scotland’s Andy Frost and England’s Mike Bomba)
Jackie Newton, Director of Coaching and Athlete Development, stated: “We have had a fabulous last few weeks with a total of twelve of our athletes achieving the consideration standards for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and others that are very close. We decided to take this opportunity to invite overseas athletes who are at a level that will push our athletes to even better performances. We are now very much looking forward to seeing them in action on the 5th of July.”
General Secretary of Athletics Northern Ireland, John Allen, said: “This is a fantastic event for everyone involved and provides an opportunity to showcase one of the Country’s top athletics arenas. Taking place at the start of the track & field season the Belfast International Athletics Meet will offer fans an opportunity to see world-class athletes compete at the home of Athletics in Northern Ireland ahead of the Games. John Allen continued “The Mary Peters Track is a world class standard venue that is open to the whole athletics community, catering to all levels of the sport from school children and club athletes to those training to compete at an international level.”