Belfast International Meet A Success
07 May 2016
There was an impressive turnout at today’s Belfast International Athletics Meet, organised jointly by Athletics NI, Irish Milers and Beechmount Harriers. Portaferry's Ciara Mageean started her Olympic track season in style at the Belfast International Athletics Meeting at the Mary Peters Track, when she ran a respectable time of 9 mins 7.47 secs in a mixed race over 3,000 metres. The multi NI record holder was competing in a rain affected meeting where the conditions did not affect a series of classy performances from some of the 300 athletes.
Ciara was testing her race fitness in her first track race of the year before the critical challenges ahead over her Rio 1,500 metres distance. While the 24 year old was unfortunate to become isolated early in her event she produced a blistering finish for 6th place behind winner David O'Flaherty (8.56.62).
A relaxed Ciara said;
"I consider this to be a strong performance in my first track race this year. I feel there is much more to come. I had no time in mind but I certainly finished strongly. As you can see I wasn't ill afterwards which is my normal form. My first big 1,500 metres test will be in Belgium at the end of the month".
Performance of the meeting went to Donore's John Travers who had an impressive solo run in the A race where he had a 7 secs victory margin in 8.03.69. The hard work of the pacemakers ensured that Ireland's Pierre Murchan (8.11.83) and Jack O'Leary (8.14.13) obtained qualification times for the World Juniors in Poland in July.
There was intense interest in the talent laden Men's 400 metres where double European gold medallist David Gillick was competing in only his second race since 2012. The 32 year old showed serious signs of his old self by finishing second in 47.24 secs ahead of Timmy Crowe (47.37 secs) and North Down's Andrew Mellon (47.83 secs). Afterwards Gillick denied that he was making a serious attempt to make an Irish Relay team for Rio.
Class double act of the day came from Birchfield's Theo Campbell who won the 400 metres with a massive PB of 46.24 secs. He also edged out Scotland's Cameron Tindle for victory in the 200 metres in 21.40 secs.
The much anticipated Women's 400 metres hurdles lived up to expectations with British Universities champion Jess Turner, Ballymena & Antrim's Christine McMahon and Ireland's Jessie Barr fighting a close battle right to the line. The verdict went to Jess Turner in 58.12 secs closely followed by Christine McMahon (58.32 secs) who finally defeated rival Jessie Barr (58.50 secs).
A delighted Christine said;
"I was leading with 20 metres to go but my legs just gave way. I am pleased and will get better with a few more races ".
In the Women's 800 metres the Irish challenge lost out to Cumbria's Katy Brown who just took the spoils in 2 mins 4.05 secs from Irish champion Laura Crowe (2.04.21). The veteran Kelly Neely of Lisburn AC again excelled in 5th place in 2.05.56 just ahead of an improving Katy Kirk of QUB (2.05.92) .
The Men's 1,500 metres was dominated by Bristol's Dan Studley who romped home in a classy 3.45 .77 well ahead of Derby's Richard Weir (3.48.40). James Hamilton of Ballymena made a sensational breakthrough in the B race where he took 8 secs off his PB to win in 3 mins 59.71 secs. This is a qualification time for the Rio Paralympics in September.
The equivalent Women's race was won by Coventry's Rowena Cole in 4 mins 19.58 secs with UCD's Ciara Everard who is bound for Rio in the 800 metres fading to 5th.
Bath's European Junior high hurdles 4th placer David King was an easy winner in 13.91 secs with Lisburn's Megan Marrs taking the Women's title in 13.89 secs.
Megan just lost in the 100 metres to Ireland's Sarah Murray (11.90 secs) while Ireland's Eanna Madden won the Men's sprint in 10.67 secs. Craig Lynch got the verdict for second from Ballymena & Antrim’s Jonathan Browning with both being timed at 10.80 secs.
For a full set of results and photographs of today’s event, visit www.athleticsni.org/Fixtures