14 July 2017


A weekend of top quality competition lies ahead for local athletes, with the continuation of the European Athletics Under 23 Championships in Poland and the start of the Para World Athletics Championships in London (England).

European Athletics Under 23 Track & Field Championships 2017 (Poland):

The weekend action has already begun, with four local athletes currently representing Ireland at the European Athletics Under 23 Track & Field Championships in Bydgoscz, Poland (13th-16th July 2017).

Andrew Mellon (Crusaders AC / Brendan McConville), Craig Newell (Ballymena & Antrim AC / Ian Neely), John Kelly (Finn Valley AC / John Kelly Snr) and Sarah McKeever (DSD AC / Laurie Needham) will all be hoping to impress on the world stage.

Andrew, John and Sarah were all in action on Day 1 (Thursday 13th July 2017).  Andrew progressed to the 400m semi-finals with a 47.38 in the qualifying rounds.  Unfortunately, John and Sarah’s competitions ended – John threw 16.10m in the Shot Putt, which wasn’t enough to see him through, while Sarah’s 3.85m just wasn’t enough to progress in the Pole Vault event.

Andrew’s semi-final will take place at 16:18hrs later today (Friday 14th July 2017).  Craig Newell will be part of the 4x400m relay team who kick off their campaign on Saturday (15th July 2017).

Para World Athletics Championships 2017 (England):

Over the next seven days, the world’s top Paralympic athletes will compete at the Para Athletics World Championships which kick off tomorrow (Saturday 15th July 2017) at the Olympic Stadium in London, England.

Amongst the plethora of talent on show will be three men from Northern Ireland.  Decorated Paralympic athletes Jason Smyth (Derry Track Club) and Michael McKillop (North Belfast Harriers / Paddy McKillop) are in the Ireland team, while Ballymena Runners man James Hamilton (Mark Kirk) is in the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team.

Jason will compete over 100m (T13) and 200m (T13), Michael will be in action in the 800m (T38) and 1500m (T37), and James will take on the 800m (T20) and 1500m (T20).

A timetable for the local men’s events is available below: 

Friday 14th July 2017:

  • Michael McKillop (T38 800m heats - 20:25hrs GMT)

Sunday 16th July 2017: 

  • Jason Smyth (T13 100m heats -11:30hrs GMT and final - 21:06hrs GMT)
  • Michael McKillop (T38 800m final - 21:15hrs GMT)

Monday 17th July 2017:

  • Jason Smyth (T13 200m heats - 19:10hrs GMT)
  • James Hamilton (T20 1500m final - 21:05hrs GMT)

Tuesday, 18th July 2017:

  • Jason Smyth (T13 200m final - 19:55hrs GMT)

Friday 21st July 2017:

  • James Hamilton (T20 800m heats - 20:13hrs GMT)

Saturday 22nd July 2017:

  • Michael McKillop (T37 1500m final - 19:50 GMT)
  • James Hamilton (T20 800m final - 20:30hrs GMT)


Elsewhere this weekend…

Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC / Richard Rodgers) will be in competition at the Memorial Rasschaert Meeting in Belgium where the Rio Olympian will be hoping to better the Commonwealth Games 2018 3,000m Steeplechase consideration standard of 9:54.00. Earlier this week, Kerry was a mere 0.4secs outside the standard when she ran 9:54.40 in Sweden.

Fellow Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games stars Danny Mooney (Letterkenny AC / Teresa McDaid) and Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC / Ian Neely) will be amongst a number of NI based runners competing at the Le Cheile International Track & Field Meeting.

Danny will be running in the 1500m and more than likely will be aiming for the 3:41.10 Gold Coast standard – just this week, he was agonisingly close to running a sub 4-minute mile when he clocked 4:00.12 at the Morton Games.  Christine will have one eye on the 400m hurdles standard of 57:30, which she has come within a second of on three separate occasions over the last 4-5 weeks.

Irish Life National Juvenile Track & Field Championships 2017 – Day 3 (Ireland):

A large number of junior athletes from Northern Ireland are expected to compete on Day 3 of the Irish Life Health National Juvenile Track & Field Championships in Tullamore, Ireland (Sunday 16th July 2017).

Victoria Lightbody (City of Lisburn AC), Dylan McBride (Willowfield Harriers), Joseph Haynes (Armagh AC), Joel Chambers (Ballydrain Harriers), Zac Moraghan (North Down AC), Jude McCrossan (Lifford-Strabane AC), Rachel McCann (North Down AC), Janine Boyle (Finn Valley AC), Katie Kimber (North Down AC), Erin Fisher (City of Lisburn AC) and Eimear McBrien (Lagan Valley AC) are just a few athletes who will be chasing medals at the event.