NI athletes first to compete in 2012 Olympic stadium
This weekend there will be 2012 hours to go to the London Olympics and local NI athletes will be there to join in the party.
Several of University of Ulster and Queens University athletics top athletes will be competing at the London Olympic Stadium this weekend as part of the BUCS championships.
The association has managed to secure use of the track as a test event for the 2012 Olympics, and over 40,000 tickets for the event sold out in minutes.
It will be a great opportunity for some the provinces best young athletes who returned from last weekends Irish Universities Championships at Athlone IT with a haul medals.
Joanna Mills and Christine McMahon, who competed for Northern Ireland at the last Commonwealth Games, will be representing their country at the Intervarsities showpiece which runs from Friday through to Monday.
The Intervarsities Championship is being used as a 'dry run' ahead of the Olympic Games themselves as security measures and transportation are put to the test. Many of our local athletes have been mentioned as contenders in the official preview (see links below).
The first year dentistry students might be excused for adopting a little visualisation over the course of the event as they have aspirations of returning to the London 2012 venue later this year.
"I am really looking forward to it and I think it will be really brilliant to see the stadium before the Olympics kick off," said Joanna.
"It will give me an idea of what it's like to compete there before maybe getting a chance to take part in the Olympics themselves. I've a lot of races to run before the team is announced and my aim is to run as fast as I can and then perhaps put myself in contention for a place in the relay event for London 2012.
"But I can't afford to get too focused on the stadium and where I am at the weekend because obviously the races are the most important thing."
Christine shares her training partner's enthusiasm as she looks forward to the experience of a lifetime at the Olympic athletics venue.
"I can't wait and competing in front of 40,000 spectators is going to be an experience in itself," she enthused. "But I'll be trying to block out the crowd and the fact that I'll be competing in the Olympic Stadium and just concentrate on my event."
Karen Rothery, CEO of BUCS said, “We are thrilled to have the opportunity for BUCS athletes to compete in the Olympic Stadium and for students to play their part in preparing London for the 2012 Games. We anticipated unprecedented interest from family and friends wanting to be part of this incredible opportunity within the Stadium and we’re delighted that additional tickets have now been released to enable as many supporters as possible to watch their loved ones compete in this unique event.”
Ulster BUCS Team
Dean Adams; Sprints
Adam Clansey; Middle Distance
Anne Doyle; Middle Distance
Jason Harvey; 400m hurdles
Kathy Hetherington; Discus
Linzi Herron; Long Jump
John Houston; 400m
Mark Hoy; Middle distance
Alan Kennedy; Triple Jump
Rory Kirwan; Javelin
Adam McMullen; Long Jump
Stephen Rooney; Long Distance
Claire Wilkinson; Pole Vault
Queens BUCS Team
Joanna Mills; Sprints
Christine McMahon; Middle Distance
Andrew Graham; Sprints
Liverpool John Moore
Daniel Mooney: 1500m
Bath BUCS Team
Hannah Lewis: Long Jump