20 March 2018


Northern Ireland’s athletes will have the backing they need to hit top form at next month’s Commonwealth Games in Australia, team chief Jackie Newton says.

The bulk of the province’s 13-strong track and field squad departed this morning (Tuesday) from Belfast to head to Gold Coast for a two-week training camp before the showpiece begins on April 4.

It will see the team training at the facilities at Somerset College, just a few kilometres from Carrera Stadium where the main athletics competition will be held – with a number of Games hopefuls set to warm up at next Wednesday’s Queensland Classic meeting in Brisbane.

And Newton, Director of Coaching and Athlete Development at Athletics Northern Ireland, believes everything is in place to get her performers to the starting line at their peak.

“We’re ready,” she said. “Plans are in place for the next few weeks to get everyone to the Games in the best shape possible.

“We’ve had menus sorted in advance so the nutrition is maximised. The resort we’re staying at has had ice baths installed for recovery. A number of our athletes will be bringing personal coaches so they feel well-supported. I feel confident that all 13 will be given the best opportunity to go into the Games and shine.”

Paul Pollock and Kevin Seaward, who will compete in the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Valencia on Saturday, were the main absentees on the journey out with high jumper Sommer Lecky delaying her departure due to A-Level studies.

But although no firm medal targets have been set for the 13 headed Down Under, the ambition, Newton declared, is “that every athlete arrives at their event in their best physical shape with a mindset that enables them to perform at their personal best.”

She added: “We sat down with the athletes at our first warm-weather training camp in Tenerife and discussed our vision and how they felt about it.

“Our target and responsibility is that they arrive at the start of their event in the best condition possible for either a personal best or season’s best.

“Obviously, achieving that may depend on the conditions or how their race plays out. But if they achieve their best result, that will meet our expectations.”


Team Member               Event                                    Coach   

Ciara Mageean                800m & 1500m                  Steve Vernon

Dempsey McGuigan       Hammer                              John Smith

Kate O’Connor                 Heptathlon                         Kerr, McMullen, O’Connor, Reynolds

Sommer Lecky                  High Jump                          Niall Wilkinson

Adam Kirk-Smith              3000m Steeplechase      Tomaz Plibersek

Leon Reid                           200m                                   James Hillier      

Ben Reynolds                    110mH                                Tom Reynolds

Adam McMullen              Long Jump                          Alan Kennedy

Emma Mitchell                  5000m & 10,00m               Eamonn Christie

Paul Pollock                      Marathon                            Andy Hobdell

Kevin Seaward                  Marathon                            Andy Hobdell

Jack Agnew*                      T54 1500m                           Heather Ardis

Amy Foster                       100m & 200m                     David Reid

Team Staff

Jackie Newton, Tom Reynolds & Laura Kerr