TOP STARS GUNNING FOR BELFAST INTERNATIONAL 2018
26 June 2018
Northern Ireland’s top athletes will go head-to-head against an abundance of international talent as Athletics Northern Ireland host the annual Belfast International Track & Field Meeting at Mary Peters Track (Tuesday 26th June 2018).
In what should be one of the highlights of the night the Men’s 200m is set to be a battle between Northern Ireland’s best with two top European athletes expecting to challenge for honours at Berlin 2018.
Commonwealth 200m Bronze Medallist Leon Reid (PB 20.38) and in form Commonwealth Youth 200m Champion Aaron Sexton (PB 21.12) will be up against stiff competition from 2011 European U23 Champion and double European Championship finalist Likourgos-Stefanos Tsakonas of Greece (PB 20.09) and Dominik Kopec from Poland (PB 20.94).
There is a real depth to the field with Northern Ireland 100m record holder Jason Smyth (PB 20.94) and a number of others around the 21.5 second mark.
In the 100 metres Smyth (PB 10.22), Reid (PB 10.33) and Sexton (PB 10.52) will take on athletes from Senegal, Poland, England and Ireland.
The athletes most likely to be amongst the home favourites will be Joshua Swaray of Senegal (PB 10.22), in-form sub 21 second 200m runner Jordan Broome of England (PB 10.68), Poland’s Michal Jakobczyk (PB 10.52) and Dominik Kopec (PB 10.29).
In the ladies 100m, local favourite Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) will compete on home soil for the first time this season. The Commonwealth Games star will face England’s Dionne Samuels, Ireland’s Niamh Whelan and up and coming local athlete Lauren Roy (City of Lisburn AC), amongst others.
Another attraction on the exciting race programme is the ladies 800m event, which will feature 2016 European Championships 1500m medallist Ciara Mageean (UCD AC / New Balance).
However, the Steve Vernon coached athlete won't have it all her own way as she will be joined by a number of the top middle distance athletes for the two lap race. Polish competitor Paulina Mikiewicz-Łapińska (PB 2:02.36), England’s Jacqui Fairchild (PB 2:02.09), and Ciara’s training partner Anna Silvander (PB 2:02.53) from Sweden will be the most likely to push the NI record holder for the win and £300 first prize.
There is also a host of fast-improving Irish athletes who will be pushing for the podium places including Claire Mooney (PB 2:03.56), Alana Lally (PB 2:04.79) and star of the recent Irish Schools Championships; breaking Mageean's own 1500m record; Sarah Healy (PB 2:06.30).
Recently crowned NI & Ulster 800m Champion Conall Kirk (Annadale Striders) will head the local challenge for honours in the well-supported men’s 800m, which includes strong representation from Ireland in the form of Brian Fay (PB 1.50.20) and Kevin McGrath (PB 1:48.89).
British Champion hurdler Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) should dominate the 100m hurdles race but will line up against fellow Northern Ireland athletes Sarah Connolly (North Down AC) and Anna McCauley (City of Lisburn AC), and Irish internationals Sarah Lavin and Elizabeth Moreland. In the 110m hurdles, record holder Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) will race a string of emerging athletes including Irish Indoor Champion Matthew Behan (PB 13.92) and Polish competitor Dawid Żebrowski (PB 13.90).
Northern Ireland’s Andrew Mellon (Crusaders AC) will also face tough opposition in the 400m, including World Junior 400m finalist Sadam Koumi (Sudan) who has a best of 45.41 for the distance. Ireland’s Dara Kervick and Brandon Arrey will also contest the podium places.
Crusaders AC man Jason Harvey will compete in the 400m hurdles against English pair James Webster and Sam Plumb, and an Irish quartet, which should be led by European Championship competitor Paul Byrne.
In the field, Finn Valley AC star Sommer Lecky will feature in the High Jump, while Lydia Mills (Ballymena & Antrim AC) will compete in the mixed Long Jump event alongside Ireland’s Elizabeth Moreland. England’s Ryan Ragoo will be hoping to out jump local men Jonathan Hill (City of Lisburn AC), Jonathan Cochrane (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Ryan Nixon-Stewart (City of Lisburn AC) in the men’s event.
An exciting men’s Javelin competition will kick of the main International Programme at 6.25pm with two of Athletics NI’s up and coming throws internationals, Jack Magee (PB 66.42m) and Gareth Crawford (64.37m), who both set PBs at the NI & Ulster Senior Championships this month. The duo will be challenged by a pair of Swiss athletes and another two English throwers, all with PBs between 65 and 70 metres.
Junior athletes Jai Benson (Lagan Valley AC) and the aforementioned Jonathan Cochrane (Ballymena & Antrim AC) will compete in the Triple Jump alongside Mark Burton (City of Lisburn AC) and Caolan O’Callaghan (Ireland).
The international events will be preceded by a number of competitive junior races, which kick off at 5.30pm. A full timetable and start lists for the event are available HERE.
DW Fitness First will also be launching their ‘School Run’ imitative at the Belfast international. More details can be found HERE.
Streaming of the evening’s events will be available HERE.