MAGEEAN LEADS STAR LINE UP IN BELFAST INTERNATIONAL ATHLETICS MEETING
05 May 2016
Rio Olympics bound Ciara Mageean will head an international line up of athletes competing in this Saturday's 3rd International Athletics meeting at the Mary Peters Track (first event 1.00 pm).
This early season meeting which is co-organised by the Irish Milers Club, Beechmount Harriers and Athletics NI will be the first serious competition for many of the 300 athletes from NI, Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland, Poland and Hungary. A select few Irish athletes will have their eyes on making a mark for selection for the European Championships in July.
Mageean will however be using the occasion of her first track outing of the year to test her fitness for the Olympics in a mixed race over 3,000 metres. This will be a useful variation for her prior to future races over her shorter Rio 1,500 metres event. She should however perform well at Malone over the longer distance where she holds the NI record of 8 mins 55 secs. Best of the male opposition should be Donore's John Travers who ran 7 mins 55 secs indoors in the winter.
The Women's 400 hurdles will attract a lot of interest with Ballymena's Christine McMahon once again facing Ferrybank Irish international Jessie Barr. Barr just got the verdict in this meeting two years ago but this time McMahon is on a high following her European time last weekend where she got silver in the BUCS Champs in 57.78 secs. However both may have to play second fiddle to England's Jess Turner who took gold in 57.49 secs.
In the 400 metres North Down's Andrew Mellon ran a PB of 47.48 secs last week and should be in contention against England's James Gladman and Theo Campbell of Scotland who won the B race two years ago.
The Women's 800 metres should be a fascinating struggle involving all the top locals. Entries include Ireland's Laura Crowe who was 2nd to Mageean in this year's Irish Indoors. Crowe finished ahead of Lisburn AC athletes Erin McIlveen and Kelly Neely plus Commonwealth Games runner Katie Kirk all of whom will be racing.
The equivalent Men's race will involve England's Bobby Needham, Scotland's Cameron Boyek plus Poles Matusz Borowski and Kamil Gurdak who have PB's of 1 min 47 secs. However, St Abban's Brian Kelly who won here 2 years ago is currently in great form.
In the Women's 1,500 metres Rio bound 800 metres runner Ciara Everard of UCD will race top GB two lap runner Rowena Cole and Banbridge's Emma Mitchell.
In the 100 metres sprints Ballymena's Jonathan Browning will face junior Scottish star Cameron Tindle. The absence of Amy Foster in the Women's event leaves the way clear for a battle between Lisburn's Megan Marrs and Scotland's Molly Scott. These two will also clash in the hurdles event.
With local high hurdles star Ben Reynolds racing in the US the way should be clear for a victory for Bath's Dave King who was 4th in the European Junior.
Live streaming of the event will be available. Click here