Olympic Athletes Light up Antrim Stadium at Brian Downing Meet
Soulieman won the 800m & 3000m
The Brian Downing Memorial International Meet in Antrim last night lived up to the hype with Olympic athletes taking the limelight. Athletes from Oman, Djibouti, Egypt and Qatar who are here for an Olympic Games Pre Training Camp impressed the crowd.
The event was organised by Athletics NI and Lagan Valley with support from Sport NI and DCAL.
Head coach Jama Aden, interviewed by the BBC said his group had received a great welcome in NI and they were enjoying the camp along with mentioning that it was helping with acclimatisation!
The highlight of the night was London bound Djiboutian athlete Ayanteh Soulieman running the fastest time on the Antrim track with a Stadium record of 1.47.45 as he stormed home ahead of training partner Hamada Mohamed of Egypt in 1.47.97.
The crowd were on their feet cheering on the two athletes as they went through the first lap in a fast 52.73 seconds. Niall Brooks of Sale Harriers was third in 1.49.51. In the B race, Lagan Valley’s Patrick Monaghan just beat Mark Hoy taking the race in 1.54.02.
Soulieman doubled up and an hour later and ran in the 3000m opening up a clear margin from the second lap. Soulieman who is a 2012 World Indoor finalist however showed his class by firing ahead and taking the title easily in 8.17.28. Liam Tremble (Irish Universities) was a distant second in 8.44.27.
There was drama in the 100m as there was a false start by Chris Russell (Ferrybank) who was disqualified. Clear winner was Barakat Alharathi (Oman) in 10.61 ahead of NI Champion Ollie Back (Liverpool Harriers) in 10.95.
Irish 100m Champion Amy Foster won the 200m in 25.11 seconds with U20 400m champion Katie Kirk in second place. Returning from the World Juniors where she made the semi-final, 400m specialist Joanna Mills was third in 25.44s.
The women’s 800m also had the crowd on their feet with Irish Champion Siobhan Eviston (2.05.50) edging out BMC Grand Prix winner Claire Gibson (2:06.60) followed by NI stalwart Kelly Neely in 2:07.90. Conor Bradley of City of Derry won the 1500m in 3.51.02 with Dave Proctor of Sale Harriers second in 3.51.73.
The 400m was won by Oman's Ahmed Almirjabi in 47.48 followed by Dara Kervick (Carrick on Suir) in 2nd with 48.48 and Jason Harvey (Crusaders) in third with 48.53. Kineke Alexandra of St Vincent & the Grenadines was straks ahead of the rest of the field in the Women's race in 54.32 with Irish 4x400m relay runner claire Bergin second in 55.95 seconds.
In the field events Luis Rivera of Mexico, also heading to the Olympics, won the Long Jump in 7.51m but Irish Champion Adam McMullen was within 3cms leaping 7.47m. Ciaran Dolan of Finn Valley set a new PB with a jump of 7.00m.
Matthew Martin won the Javelin (63.73), Melissa Moffett (Ballymena & Antrim) the Hammer in 31.41m and Claire Fitzgerald (Tralee Harriers) in the discus in 47.91m. Kathy Hetherington set new figures in second place with 40.22m. In the Hammer Christine Furlong (IUAA) won with a throw of 45.37m.
The Frank Horwill BMC trophy went to Patrick Monaghan and Kelly Neely for their performances in the 800m while Amy Foster took home a glass Brian Downing Memorial Trophy for the 200m.
The Meet was in memory of Brian Downing and money was collected which will be distributed to Action Cancer.
We would like to thank the sponsors Bob Given Photography, ChampionChip Ireland, RunHer and Belfast City Marathon which helped us have a great prize fund.
Official results are also available (to be updated).
Video footage by NM Sports Performance of the event will hopefully follow on Friday on our YouTube Channel.