Local athletes secure impressive medal haul at Irish Life AAI National Masters Indoor Championships
13 March 2018
Northern Ireland and Ulster athletes enjoyed a successful trip to the AIT Arena in Athlone this weekend (Saturday 10th March 2018), returning with no less than 25 gold medals – there were also numerous other medal winning and personal best performances on what was an excellent day of competition.
Aidan Gillespie (Rosses AC), Kelly Neely (City of Lisburn AC), Roy Turkington (Unattached) and Derry Track Club duo Cathal McLaughlin and Robert Bigger excelled with multiple gold medal winning performances.
Vet45 athlete Aidan topped the podium in the Long Jump, High Jump and 60m hurdles. The Rosses AC athlete leaped to 5.86m for 1st place in the Long Jump and cleared 1.75 (1st place), for the High Jump win, before clocking 9.43 (1st place) for the 60m hurdles.
Much was expected of former Masters World Champion Kelly and she delivered with two classy performances. In the 3,000m, the Vet35 star recorded 9:28.02 (1st place) to win by over forty seconds. Then, lining up in the 1500m, Kelly broke the beam in 4:53.12 for 1st place.
There was 800m and 1500m double victories for DTC men Cathal and Robert. In the Vet50 category, decorated athlete Cathal clocked 2:12.48 for 1st place in the 800m and 4:30.59 for 1st place in the 1500m. Meanwhile, in the Vet60 competition, Robert took 1st place in the 800m with 2:26.70 and 1st place in the 1500m in 5:09.28.
Unattached athlete Roy Turkington won the Vet65 Long Jump with 4.34m (1st place) and the 60m in 8.92 (1st place).
Denise Toner (Clones AC) won the Vet35 800m in 2:20.08 (1st place), before adding a silver medal in the 1500m, were she finished as runner up to Kelly Neely in 4:58.11 (2nd place). It was a similar story for North Belfast Harriers man David Clarke. The Larne man won his Vet55 1500m in 5:03.64 (1st place) and took 2nd place and the associated silver medal over 800m in 2:21.14.
Orangegrove AC athlete Emma Smith impressed over the 60m hurdles, winning her Vet40 category in 10.74 (1st place).
There were four gold medals for local athletes in the 60m competition: Pat Logan (St Annes AC) won the Vet55 race in 8.14 (1st place), while Patrick Forbes (Mid Ulster AC) took the Vet75 title in 9.35 (1st place). Ever-green City of Derry AC athlete Frank Stewart won the Vet80 gold in 25.26. Well respected Northern Ireland Masters Athletic Association athlete Anne Maguire (St Annes AC) won her Vet70 60m in 12.00.
Finn Valley AC pair Kay Byrne and Mark Gerald struck gold in the Vet55 category, with both winning their 3,000m events. Kay recorded 11:44.69 (1st place), while Mark covered the distance in 10:26.89 (1st place). In the Vet75 800m, Annalee AC’s Michael Duggan won in 3:16.81 (1st place).
North Belfast Harriers’ Jim McClean topped the podium in the Vet65 Shot Putt, landing an 11.77m effort for 1st place. Also, in the Shot Putt, Tir Chonaill AC’s Vet35 athlete Geraldine Stewart impressed with an 11.31m (1st place) throw for gold.
Finn Valley AC celebrated double gold in the 3,000m Walk, with Vet40 star Brian O’Domhnaill winning in 14:31.26 (1st place) and Vet45 athlete Sinead McConnell sealing gold in 16:15.31 (1st place).
There were many other notable performances, including silver and bronze medals, and personal bests, for Northern Ireland and Ulster based runners.
Results for the event can be found HERE (please note that some field results have not yet been released).
There was also Northern Ireland representation at the British Masters Athletics Federation (BMAF) Indoor Championships at Lee Valley in England – results are not currently available for the event.
Elsewhere this weekend…
Scottish Athletics Under 20 Indoor Track & Field Championships:
In Glasgow, at Scottish Athletics Under 20 Indoor Track & Field Championships (Saturday 10th March 2018), Athletics NI Youth Academy athlete Josh Armstrong (City of Lisburn AC / Michelle Rea) won the Scottish Under 20 60m hurdles title with a new personal best of 8.19; interestingly, this moves Josh up to 9th in Power of 10 rankings.
European Throwing Cup (Portugal):
Finn Valley AC’s John Kelly (John Kelly Snr) was in action at the European Throwing Cup Championships in Leiria, Portugal over the weekend (Friday 10th – Saturday 11th March 2018).
The talented Shot Putt athlete landed a best of 16.98m, having also thrown a 16.91m effort. Going into the event, John was ranked in 11th place – a top ten placing was his target and he finished in 9th place. The competition was won by Norway’s Marcus Thomsen, who threw 19.61m.