Adam Kirk-Smith Achieves Commonwealth Games Standard in Belgium
29 May 2017
Northern Ireland international Adam Kirk-Smith (Coach: Tomaz Plibersek) smashed his 3,000m Steeplechase personal best and reached the Commonwealth Games qualification standard as local athletes performed well at the IFAM International Track & Field Meeting in Oordegem, Belgium this weekend (Saturday 27th May 2017).
Woodford Green Essex athlete Adam, who ran a 3,000m Steeplechase personal best of 8:46.26 at last week’s Loughborough International, bettered the Gold Coast standard and set a new personal best with a 8:37.62 finish – this was well under the 8:43.30 standard and now takes the number of athletes who have put themselves in the frame for selection to seven.
Letterkenny AC’s Danny Mooney (Coach: Teresa McDaid) narrowly missed the Commonwealth Games 1500m standard (3:41.10) when he recorded an excellent 3:42.74 for the distance - his training partner and former NI & Ulster 10k Champion, Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC / Teresa McDaid), went close to a sub-14 minute 5,000m when he crossed the line in 14:01.86. European Championships 1500m bronze medallist Ciara Mageean (UCD AC / Jerry Kiernan) kicked off her season with a 2:03.12 for 800m.
There was also some excellent early season form from sprinters Christian Robinson (City of Lisburn AC / Rhiannon Rose) and Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim AC / Phillip Snoddy) in the 100m – Christian clocked 10.68 (1.11), while Dean broke the beam in 10.90 (0.7). Gareth Thompson (City of Lisburn AC / Phillip Snoddy) was also in action over 100m, running 11.11 (1.5); he then recorded 22.48 (0.1) for 200m. Another City of Lisburn AC athlete, Lauren Roy, ran 12.18 (1.1) for 100m and 25.12 (1.0) for 200m.
In the 400m event, Ben Maze (Crusaders AC) and Craig Newell (Ballymena & Antrim AC / Ian Neely) both ran well, crossing the line in 47.33 and 48.64 respectively. Commonwealth Games athletes Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC / Nick Dakin) and Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC / Ian Neely) recorded season’s best times over the 400m hurdles – Jason ran 51.22, with Christine also impressing with a 58.31 finish.
In other news…
At the AAI National Combined Events Championships at the Morton Stadium (Santry, Dublin), athletes faced torrential rain on Day 1 and then contrasting hot sunny weather on Day 2 (Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May 2017).
Carmen Runners’ Molly Curran secured gold in the Under 15 girls category. The Omagh based athlete recorded four event personal bests before being crowned Champion with 2300 points (the high jump event was cancelled due to poor weather conditions). Annalee AC’s Niamh McCorry claimed 2nd place with 2296 points.
In the senior women’s heptathlon, Kate O’Connor (St Gerard’s AC) was leading the way after Day 1, but was forced to withdraw due to feeling unwell before competition began on Day 2. Lagan Valley AC’s Laura Frey (4034 points) and City of Derry AC’s Claire Dougherty (3680 points) went on to claim medals, taking 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.
Poor weather conditions undoubtedly hampered performances at the IMC / Tullamore Harriers Bertie Quinn Track & Field Meeting in Tullamore (Saturday 27th May 2017) – however, there were still some notable outings.
Paralympic hero Jason Smyth (Derry Track Club) clocked 22.33 for 1st place in the 200m event and Northern Ireland men Chris Madden (City of Lisburn AC / Mark Kirk) and Ryan Sharkey (Lagan Valley AC / Frank Sharkey & Tom Chorney) claimed podium places in the 3,000m race. Chris ran 8:40.79 for 2nd place and Ryan recorded 8:47.60 for 3rd place, a new personal best.
There was also a 1500m personal best of 4:15.37 for City of Lisburn AC’s Tom Baird (Coach: Heather Ardis).
At the AAI Games at the Morton Stadium in Dublin (Sunday 28th May 2017), better weather conditions greeted many of the athletes who had been in action in Tullamore less than 24 hours earlier.
This was evident when Ballymena Runners man James Hamilton (Coach: Mark Kirk), who had clocked 4:03.59 for 1500m in Tullamore, ran a brilliant early season 4:00.77 for the same distance; this ranks James 3rd in the T20 World rankings.
Fellow Paralympic athletes Michael McKillop (North Belfast Harriers / Patrick McKillop) and David Leavy (City of Lisburn AC) ran 4:16.33 and 4:43.56 respectively.
In the same (1500m) race, Oisin Gallen (Finn Valley AC / Neil Martin) ran a 3:57.89 personal best for 3rd place and Neil McCartan (East Down AC / Mark Kirk) opened his season with a 3:59.25 finish for 4th place.
There were also personal bests for Jonathan Whan (City of Lisburn AC / Mark Kirk) and Claudia Jalon (Marathon A.D / Mark Kirk) over 800m, with Claudia running 2:11.47 (2nd place) and Jonathan 1:56.07 (2nd place).
In the 100m, Ballymena & Antrim AC’s Christopher Doherty covered the distance in 11.32, but unfortunately the +2.2 wind will rule out what would have been a personal best for the up and coming athlete. City of Lisburn AC pair Josh Armstrong (Coach: Michelle Rea) and Anna McCauley (Coach: Maureen McCauley) were in action over the hurdles – Josh ran 15.10 (+1.1) over the 110m hurdles and Anna jumped the 100m hurdles in 14.40 (+0.4).
There was a Northern Ireland 1st and 2nd in both the men’s long jump and the men’s javelin. In the long jump, Ben Fisher and Jonathon Hill, both coached by Rhiannon Rose, leaped to 6.91m (1st place) and 6.44m (2nd place) respectively. In the javelin, Gareth Crawford (Lifford-Strabane AC / Damian Crawford) threw a huge personal best of 62.81m for 1st place and Jack Magee (Ballymena & Antrim AC / Laura Kerr) landed a 60.21m throw for 2nd place. North Down AC’s Laura Salters also jumped well in the triple jump, securing 2nd place with a 11.09m effort.
In Arbon, Switzerland, Northern Ireland’s T54 Wheelchair Athlete Jack Agnew (Lagan Valley AC / Heather Ardis) has been in competition at the Daniela Jutzeler Memorial (Thursday 25th May 2017 - 100m, 400m & 1500m) and the Swiss National Championships (Saturday 27th May 2017 - 400m,1500m & Sunday 28th May 2017 - 800m).
Jack made full use of the fast track and world class competition, smashing his personal bests at the event, which is considered to be the premier race meet in the world. Jack recorded 15.44 for 100m, 50.33 for 400m, 1:42.04 for 800m and 3:07.05 for 1500m, an exceptional string of performances.
Speaking to Athletics NI from Switzerland, Jack explained:
"This is a big step up in level for me and I'm very pleased with my performances, I've PB'd in every race in a tough 30°c heat.
Looking at the IPC World Rankings and applying the three athlete rule my 1500m PB of 3:07.05 puts me into contention for one of the automatic spots for the Commonwealth Games. I've also set myself up nicely for selection for the Para Athletics World Junior Championships in August in Nottwil, Switzerland.
I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
At the Great Manchester Run 10k (Sunday 28th May 2017), local man Stephen Scullion (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) looked back to his best as he and Northern Ireland 10,000m and 5,000m record holder Emma Mitchell (QUB AC) impressed with strong performances.
Stephen, who narrowly missed Ireland’s IAAF World Championships marathon standard when running 2:17:59 at the Virgin Money London Marathon last month, clocked an excellent 29:25 to secure 7th place in a competitive field.
He took to social media to talk about the event, saying “Manchester crowd & city were brilliant”, and added (in relation to his performance) “it’s getting better. Portland track 10km next.”
Emma, who is coached by Eamonn Christie, continued her excellent recent form to claim 6th place in the elite ladies field, crossing the line in 34:31.