Belfast International Meet Returns to Celebrate Northern Irish Talent
29 July 2021
Athletics NI are delighted to announce the return of the Belfast International EAP Meet on 11th September at the Mary Peters Track, which will once again be part of the European Athletics Promotions circuit, attracting athletes from across Europe.
This year’s Belfast International Track and Field Event is also being supported by the Northern Ireland Office as part of its Centenary programme, and will showcase Northern Ireland’s world class athletic facilities and athletics successes, through the ‘Our Story in the Making’ campaign.
Following hot on the heels of the Tokyo Olympics, the event is expected to attract returning Olympic and Paralympic competitors. In previous years the event has seen a number of high profile International and Local athletes compete at the track including Portaferry’s leading lady, Ciara Mageean (City of Lisburn AC/ Team New Balance); Great Britain’s Adam Gemili; Irish middle-distance runner, Sarah Healy and some of NI’s top sprinters, Leon Reid (Menapians AC), Jason Smyth (Derry Track Club) and Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim AC). In the field, previous athletes have included Commonwealth Games athletes, Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley AC) and Great Britain’s Nick Percy.
The prestigious international athletics event continues to attract hundreds to the iconic Mary Peters Track in the scenic Lagan Valley Regional Park and will showcase the best of local and international talent, with the day’s events including competition for all ages, from primary school children right through to International and local senior athletes.
Through the support of the Northern Ireland Office, this year’s event will also incorporate a Children’s Summer Athletics Programme. Children will compete in a series of activities and their progress will be monitored throughout the 3-week programme, which will see 250 children from across Northern Ireland receive coaching delivered by athletics clubs in Derry/Londonderry, Belfast, Armagh and Omagh culminating in regional finals which will see the top three girls and top three boys in each region selected.
These children will then take part in a National Final at the Belfast International Track and Field Meet, where they will have the chance to meet Northern Ireland sporting stars of the past and present.
Welcoming the announcement, Secretary of state for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis MP said:
“I am delighted to launch this Children’s Summer Athletics Programme as part of the NIO’s programme for the Centenary year, and to announce the NIO’s support for the annual Belfast International Track and Field Meet.
“Northern Ireland has always punched well above its weight in sporting achievement, and to have hundreds of elite athletes from across the world travelling to Belfast to compete demonstrates the respect in which it is held.
“Also, in this Olympic year I hope that the opportunity to meet heroes such as Lady Mary Peters and to compete alongside world-class athletes serves as inspiration to the children taking part, who could include our next generation of gold medal winning athletes!”
Northern Ireland Olympic Gold Medallist, Lady Mary Peters said “I am delighted to support the Belfast International Meet, which is a wonderful opportunity for both our International and young, aspiring athletes to come together to compete at the Mary Peters Track. It is fantastic to have the support of the Northern Ireland office to allow us to extend our children’s programme across Northern Ireland to encourage and develop young talent.”
Athletics NI President, Gerry Carson said: "We are delighted to announce the return of the Belfast International Meeting, which will be part of the European Athletics Promotions circuit. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the athletics talent we have resident here, as well as attracting competitors from other parts of Europe to compete in this high level fixture.”
"The Children's Summer Athletics Scheme will give young athletes from a wide range of areas the opportunity to compete at this International Meeting and to rub shoulders with some of their sporting heroes. It is fantastic that these events are being supported by the Northern Ireland office during the Centenary year.”
To find out how your child can participate in the Children’s Summer Athletics Programme, visit https://athleticsni.org/Fixtures/Athletics-NI-Childrens-Summer-Scheme
For more information on the NIO’s Centenary programme, visit www.ourstoryinthemaking.com.