Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Irish Athletics...Looking Back, Looking Forward...

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Irish Athletics...Looking Back, Looking Forward...

Coming up this weekend, the Irish  Senior Track and Field Championships takes place in the Morton Stadium Santry. Several of the top Irish athletes who are going to London will be in action here as part of their preparations. But first a look back at last weekend and the European Track and Field Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

 Tori Pena of Ireland in action in the pole vault

 Leaving the Irish performances aside, the Finnish organisers and the IAAF came in for some severe criticism for the condition of the track. As the site for the 1952 Olympic Games, this stadium is one of the most famous in Europe. The Finns however have destroyed it by putting a football pitch in the middle of it and as a result, the track has much tighter corners than usual. As a result, it led to many disqualifications in the 200m and 400m sprint events as athletes struggled to stay in their lanes on the bends. It's probably likely that another major athletics competition like this won't be held there again.

Joanne Cuddihy...impressive in the womens 4x400m relay, Fionnuala Britton...all 5ft 2" of her and one of the best Irish athletes

The condition of the track had an impact on some of the Irish athletes as well with the likes of Steven Colvert being disqualified in the 200m and Joanne Cuddihy in the 400m. In terms of Irish performances, it was a case of 'what might have been'. Fionnuala Britton finished 4th in the 10,000m after doing a lot of the work at the front for most of the race. This was only her second competitive 10,000m race and looking back at it, it seemed as if her 4th position was more due to tactics rather than a reflection of her true potential. In the womens 4x400m relay race, Joanne Cuddihy put in a very impressive performance in her leg and gave a hint of what she might have done in the 400m individual race if she hadn't been disqualified. Another athlete who was hugely impressive was Brian Gregan who finished 6th in the mens 400m despite getting injured. A name to watch in the future.

Looking forward to the this weekend, we have the Irish  Senior Track and Field Championships taking place in the Morton Stadium Santry. Irish athletes in action will be.....
Irish 100m Hurdles Record Holder, Derval O’Rourke (Leevale AC) going for her tenth national title.
Men’s 100m Record Holder, Paul Hession (Athenry AC) with Steven Colvert (Crusaders AC) and  reigning national champion, Jason Smyth (City of Derry).
In the Women’s 100m, Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC) will be race favourite going head to head with Joanne Cuddihy (KCH).
In the womens 400m, Joanne Cuddihy is the clear favourite with a battle then between Marian Heffernan (Togher AC), Michelle Carey (Dublin Striders AC) and Catriona Cuddihy (KCH).
Also in action in the 400m hurdles will be brother and sister Thomas and Jessie Barr (Ferrybank AC) who put in some fine performances in Helsinki.
Jessie Barr made the final of the 400m hurdles in Helsinki

In the women’s 1500m, Fionnuala Britton is moving down to the faster race and will go head to head with steeplechase specialist Stephanie Reilly (Sli Chulainn AC) and Orla Drumm (Doneen AC).
In the womens 5,000m, Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny AC) is the firm favourite with defending champion Lizzie Lee of Leevale AC there as well to defend her title.

This will be the very last chance for Irish athletes to achieve the Olympic 'A' standard to qualify for London.

Timetable of events.........Saturday and Sunday

RTÉ Two will be showing an hour’s highlight programme on Sunday night 8th July at 23.05.

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