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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Track stars set to shine

Crusaders’ Adam McMullan who will be competing in the long-jump in the Belfast International. Picture credit: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Crusaders’ Adam McMullan who will be competing in the long-jump in the Belfast International. Picture credit: Matt Browne / Sportsfile

Local athletics fans can enjoy a hectic fortnight of international athletics starting this evening with the Belfast International at Mary Peters Track (6.0).

That's followed by the Letterkenny International on Friday, the Morton Games in Dublin next Wednesday and the 66th Cork City Sports - daddy of them all - on Tuesday July 18.

Among those competing in Belfast is Finn Valley's Sommer Lecky, who's been re-writing the junior high jump record recently and is hoping that Poland's Aneta Rydz with a best of 1.87m will push her to new heights.

Adam McMullan, the Ulster man who competes for Crusaders AC, leads the entry for the men's long jump, where he takes on Allan Hamilton of Scotland, and England's Paul Ogun among others.

In the women's 400m hurdles, Ballymena's Christine McMahon has her sights set on the Commonwealth qualifying mark of 57.30 secs.

Over 100m, Irish record holder Amy Foster from City of Lisburn takes on Sarah McCarthy of Mid Sutton and Kilkenny's Cliodhna Manning in the 200m.

In the men's sprints, Paralympian superstar Jason Smyth leads the 100m entry, while Irish indoor champion Leon Reid fresh from his personal best 20.30 for third at the UK Championships last weekend, runs the 200m.

National champion Ben Reynolds takes on old rival Ger O'Donnell, with Irish U23 champion Matt Behan of Crusaders in the 110m hurdles. The in-form Emma Mitchell of QUB goes in the 1500m.

Action then moves to Letterkenny with over a hundred athletes from 20 countries competing.

Leading the entry for the mile is Robert Domanis of the USA who ran a spersonal best three mins 54 secs for the distance last month. Seán Tobin of Clonmel and Conor Bradley of City of Derry lead the local entry.

Olympians Kerry O'Flaherty and Michele Finn, who qualified for Rio in Letterkenny two years ago are pencilled in for the women's steeplechase, although both are recovering from injury.

Four-times British champion Luke Gunn leads the entry for the men's steeplechase, where Adam Kirk-Smith of Derry Track aims to improve on the 8:37.62 he ran last month.

Many of the athletes competing in Letterkenny will then travel south to Dublin for next Wednesday's Morton Games in Santry, where Thomas Barr in the 400m hurdles, Brian Gregan in the 400m and Ciara Mageean in the 800m will attract most of the local attention.

Taking on a stellar international field in the men's mile are John Travers of Donore, Paul Robinson of St Coca's, and Clonmel's Seán Tobin.

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