Sunday 10 December 2017

Athlone brings in world's best

Laure Crowe will be taking on quality opposition in Athlone next week: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
Laure Crowe will be taking on quality opposition in Athlone next week: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE

World pole vault champion, Shawn Barber from Canada leads a stellar entry for next Wednesday's third annual AIT International Grand Prix in Athlone (6.0).

Barber made an impressive start to the season by setting a lifetime best of 6.00m at the Pole Vault Summit in Reno.

Race of the day could prove to be the women's 1500m which sees a crack squad from Germany taking on the best of Irish.

German steeplechaser Gese Krause, who holds the stadium record of 4:12.46, is joined this year by her compatriots Denise Krebs, Diana Sujew and Elina Sujew, who have all run under 4 mins 7 secs. Leading the home entry is Riocht's Laura Crowe, along with Claire Tarplee of St Coca's, Rose Ann Galligan of Newbridge and steeplechaser Kerry O'Flahert from Newcastle.

Melissa Bishop, World Championships runner-up with a PB of 1:57.52, goes in the women's 800m.

In the 60m, seven men who have broken 6.60 seconds will line out. Fastest is the American D'Angelo Cherry with a PB of 6.49. Pencilled in is another American, Joe Morris, who has a best of 6.52 secs.

American Diondre Batson has run 6.54, Churandy Martina of the Netherlands 6.58, while Britons Sean Safo-Antwi and Rion Pierre are aiming to break the 6.60 second barrier.

In the men's 400m, former World Indoor champion Chris Brown from the Bahamas has run 44.40 seconds outdoors in the past. The form men look to be the Kenyan Alphas Leken Kishoyian, with a recent time of 45.75 secs, and the Czech Pavel Maslak, who has run 44.79 outdoors.

Brian Gregan, Dara Kervick and Timmy Crowe, all vying for places on the Irish 4x400m team for Rio '16, lead the Irish entry.

Last year, the American Ben Blankenship ran 3:56. 75 for the mile in Athlone - the first indoor sub-four minute mile in this country. Pushing him all the way was his training partner, Ciarán Ó Lionáird of Leevale to a 3.56.75.

The pair return to race again next Wednesday and face a top quality field led by the Ethiopian Dawit Wolde who has a PB of 3:33.783. As well as O Lionaird, Kilkenny's Eoin Everard and Doheny's Joe Warne will run.

In the 60m hurdles, the American Shakira Nelvis defends her title against a strong field that includes UCD's Sarah Lavin, who is making a steady return to competition.

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