Belfast International Athletics Meet
Many of our Team NI athletes bound for this month's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and 3 Irish champions from the recent European Team Championships be in action at tonight's Belfast International Athletics meeting at the Mary Peters Track organised by Athletics Northern Ireland with support from Belfast City Council. In one of the biggest meetings in the Province for some 20 years local competitors will face stiff opposition from Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Australia and the Kenya.
The expected large crowd will no doubt be keen to see Team NI athletes, Zoe Brown (Pole Vault) and Christine McMahon (400mH) in action, both of whom are in the form of their lives in the lead up to the Games. 30 year old Brown who will be competing in an amazing 4th Games has broken her own NI record on no less than 3 occasions this year, most recently clearing 4.40 metres in Athlone.
Ballymena and Antrim’s Christine McMahon will relish the prospect of racing against Ferrybank's Jessie Barr in this evening’s 400mH event. Christine's 56.97 seconds time at the weekend in Belgium is a European qualification mark and makes her favourite in a field which also includes English U23 silver medallist Aisha Naibe -Way.
Two European Team champions will be racing in the Men's 400 metres. Clonliffe's Brian Gregan won the title in Tallinn, Estonia 10 days ago will go head to head with Letterkenny's Mark English who steps down from his specialist 800 metres event which he won in Tallinn. Local Commonwealth Games bound athletes Jason Harvey and Peter Glass are also in the mix.
The Women's 400 metres includes Woodford's Shana Cox and Laura Maddox who were finallists in last weekend's British Championships. 29 year old Cox who is a World Championship bronze medallist claimed her 3rd silver in as many years at the Championships.
A highlight of the evening is sure to be the Men’s 1500 metres which features last year's first two finishers amongst the quality field. Ireland No 1 Paul Robinson of St Cocoa's lost out last year by 0.5 seconds to Australia's Collis Birmingham who won in a classy 3.37.18. Both men will face tough opposition in the form of Australian record holder Ryan Gregson who won the big City of London Mile race 10 days ago.
In the Women's 800 metres Australia's Selma Kajan, who has set 3 PB's this season is the fastest in the field with 2.02.13, will face top Irish two lap runner Laura Crowe and Newry's Aislinn Crossey who is now bound for the World Junior Champs in Oregon later this month.
Also going to Oregon is Abbey's Karl Griffin who races over 800 metres where he faces 29 year old Kenyan Reuben Bett who ran a world class 1.44.79 time back in 2009. Sub 1 min 50 seconds Irish Schools medallists Harry Purcell and Robert Tully are also racing.
Another athlete looking forward to Glasgow is Ireland’s top sprinter Amy Foster who is set for the 100 metres where she faces Catherine McManus of DCH. A busy McManus also races in the 100 metres hurdles where she faces England U23 silver medallist Megan Marrs of City of Lisburn AC.
Birchfield's Leon Reid competes in the Men's 100m alongside fellow Team NI athlete, Peter Glass. North Down's Ben Reynolds races in the 110 metres hurdles which will see last year’s runner up Ortiz Moreno of Spain return to challenge Reynolds who claimed victory and set a new NI record in this meeting a year ago.