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Berlin Bound Athletes look to Show Form at Nationals


from AAI Ireland’s elite athletes will compete alongside over 500 of Ireland’s top athletes at the Woodie’s DIY Track and Field Championships of Ireland, this weekend in Morton Stadium, Santry. These championships will act a trial for the 12th IAAF World Track and Field Championships which take place in Berlin from the 15th to the 23rd of July. Over 22 Irish athletes have achieved both the A and B qualifying standard. David Gillick of Dundrum South Dublin AC will be looking to sharpen his speed and will compete in the 200m. Gillick has been in electric form of late smashing the Irish 400m record with a lightening 44.77 seconds performance in Madrid on July 4th.

Olympic 200m semi-finalist Paul Hession of Athenry AC will defend his 100m title. Hession finished third in the London Grand Prix last Saturday in 20.40 seconds just one tenth off the Irish Record he set at the championships back in 2007.

Derval O’Rourke (Leevale AC) will be looking for her eighth title in the 100m Hurdles at the Championships. This will equal the titles won by Waterford’s Susan Smith Walsh. O’Rourke has recovered well from a slight groin strain suffered at the European team Championships and will be looking to go sub 13 seconds in preparation for the World Championships in Berlin

Eileen O’Keeffe of Kilkenny City Harriers, who has the A standard, will be looking for her ninth National title when she enters the hammer circle on Saturday. O’Keeffe said “I always enjoy the Nationals Championships and cherish every title that I have won over the years”.

The Men’s 800m will be of the highlights of the championships with both Thomas Chamney and David Campbell having B standards for the Worlds. The winner of this race will be put forward for selection for the World Championships in Berlin. They have had some absorbing battles over the 800 meters at previous Senior Track and Field championships. Chamney came within one hundredth of the A qualifying time at the Bislett Games in Olso on 3rd of July.

Roisin McGettigan of Sli Chulainn who has the A qualification standard for the 3000m steeplechase will compete in the 1500m against club mate Deirdre Byrne, who has the B standard. Also included in the line-up is in form Rose Anne Galligan (Newbridge AC), who placed sixth in the recent U23 European Championships and Kelly McNiece (City of Lisburn AC) and teenage sensation Cara Mageean (City of Lisburn AC). McGettigan who has had a mixed season so far is looking to have strong performance and show that she is ready for Berlin.

Fionnuala Britton will compete in the 3000m steeplechase. The Wicklow woman achieved the B qualification standard for the World championships at the Beijing Olympics last year.
Alistair Cragg will line up in the 5000m. The Clonliffe Harrier’s man displayed early season form at the adidas classic in California in May when finishing second to Gebremeskel from Ethiopia in 13:16.83 in the 5000m. However preparation for Berlin has not moved as positively since then. At the Paris IAAF Gand Prix on the 17th of July he finished last a long way off his best. At the London Grand Prix last weekend he failed to finish. Cragg will be looking to convince selectors that he is form and on target for Berlin
Martin Fagan of Mullingar AC is due to line up in the 10,000m while Maria McCambridge of Letterkenny AC, who has the B standard for Marathon, will compete in the 5000m. Both athletes need to demonstrate fitness. Fagan also has the A qualification for the Marathon and the B for the 10,000m but if selected will compete in the 10,000m.

Loughborough based, Michelle Carey (Dublin Strider AC) will be looking to build on the form she has displayed in her most recent races to secure a place on the team for the World Championships. Carey has the B standard.

Olympians Olive Loughnane (Loughrea AC) of and Robert Heffernan (Togher AC) will line up in the walks. Heffernan will be joined in the 10,000m walk by Jamie Costin (West Waterford AC) and Colin Griffin (Ballinamore AC) both of whom have the A standard for the 50k walk.

In the High Jump, Deirdre Ryan of Dundrum South Dublin, will be the hot favourite to win. Ryan already achieved B qualification standard when setting an Irish record of 1.93m in Leverkusen, Germany in January. Ryan jumped a seasonal best of 1.91m at the KBC night of athletics meet in Belgium on 18th of July.

Irish Long Jump Record Holder, Kelly Proper of Ferrybank AC will look to take her fourth National Title on the Saturday. Kelly came within one centimetre of the Irish Record when jumping 6.58m to finish sixth in the recent European U23 Championships. Proper has jumped 6.70 plus in training but feels she has not yet executed the perfect technical jump in competition, is targeting a New Irish Record and the possibility of the B standard of 6.62m.

Joanne Cuddihy, who has the B qualification standard for the 400m, was not seen on tracks this year, apart from an appearance at the World Students Games, as she was focused on her final medical studies. Cuddihy will not compete in the Championships as she is travelling to Australia to commence work and training at the Australian Institute of Sport. The Kilkenny woman is hugely committed to the European Outdoor Championships in Barcelona in 2010.

Mary Cullen had an exceptional Indoor Season, breaking Sonia O’Sulliavan’s 3000m Irish Indoor Record running 8:43.74 and securing bronze at the European Indoor Championships. However Cullen will also not line up in the Championships as she is still recovering from her stress fracture suffered in April. The Sligo women is very much focused on being back to her best the SPAR European Cross Country Championships, in Dublin on 13th of December this year and is looking to improve on her fourth place position in Brussels in 2008.