Wednesday 13 December 2017

Bergin primed to boss Belfast

SPRINTERS will take centre stage at the Woodie's DIY National Indoors taking place at the Odyssey in Belfast over the weekend.

For the women's 60m title, Ulster's Amy Foster is the form athlete having run 7.44 seconds at the Irish University Indoors last week. Not defending her title is Leevale's Ailis McSweeney, who is recovering from Achilles tendon surgery.

DSD's Claire Bergin pushed Foster hard at the intervarsities, and is favourite for the 400m in Belfast. Other sprint medal contenders include Steffi Creaner, Catherine McManus and Phil Healy.

Hurdler Derval O'Rourke of Leevale, already selected for the World Indoors, must make an appearance in Belfast.

She has yet to go under eight seconds this season.

Another athlete still in winter training is Athenry's Paul Hession, now based in Dublin. Hession is the only sprinter so far to have qualified for London 2012 and is pencilled in for Belfast.

Defending his 60m sprint title is Dean Adams of Ballymena, renowned for his fast start. He's currently third in the rankings behind David Hynes of Menapians and Ben Reynolds of North Down.

Hynes, back in scintillating form after a two-year break, beat Adams for the intervarsity 60m title after a controversial start. Reynolds, who ran 6.96 in Cardiff last month, has since then clocked 7.88 for the 60m hurdles.


The hurdles could be one of the races of the weekend, although defending champion Ian McDonald of Crusaders is struggling with a groin injury. Third on the current rankings is 36-year-old former Olympian Peter Coghlan.

With Clonliffe's Brian Gregan competing for DCU in the Millrose Games, the men's 400m is wide open. Only Leevale's Paul Scanlan and Thomas Barr of Ferrybank have broken 50 seconds so far this season.

Long jumper Kelly Proper of Ferrybank has struggled with injury since winning both the 200m and the long jump last year.

After making big changes to her training, she returned to competition after Christmas, only narrowly losing to Mary McLoone of Tír Chonaill at the AAI Games.

* There will be highlights of the championships screened on RTé2 next Monday.

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