Home News Ohuruogu and Hession lead Odyssey showpeice

Ohuruogu and Hession lead Odyssey showpeice


from RTE Sport news RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie will broadcast highlights of the Irish Indoor Athletic Championships at 7.00pm on Monday, 9 February. Beijing Olympic 400metres champion Christine Ohuruogu and Irish Olympic sprint semi-finalist Paul Hession will be the main stars at this weekend’s sixth Woodie’s DIY Irish Indoor Athletic Championships at the Odyssey Arena Belfast. The main event start at 4:30pm on Saturday and 1.00pm on Sunday.

Funding partners include Belfast City Council and Sport Northern Ireland, while DCAL and Premier Inn have also come on board. The prestigious event is organised by Athletics Northern Ireland and Athletics Ireland.

All eyes will of course be on British Athlete of the Year Christine Ohuruogu in her first competitive run of the year over both 60m and 200m.

Belfast is indeed privileged to see such a star athlete in action, as the 24-year-old Newham athlete races very sparingly.

Indeed, last summer her rare low key outings led many to believe that she stood little chance of defeating hot US favourite Sanya Richards in the Olympic final.

However, Christine’s emphatic victory again proved that her single minded approach to major championships – she had already won the world title in Osaka the previous year – had once again paid-off in handsome style.

Ohuruogu, who has only recently arrived in the UK from warm weather training in South Africa says she is looking forward to the Odyssey outing which fits in perfectly with her racing plans at this time of the year. Her next outing will be in Birmingham in two weeks.

The Olympic Champion will, however, have to be at her best in the 60m to defeat last year’s Odyssey winner and training partner Anyika Onuora. Onuora won in 2008 in a time of 7.38 seconds ahead of Leevale’s Ailis McSweeney and Ballymena’s Anna Boyle, both of whom will also be racing this weekend along with junior star Niamh Whelan.

In the men’s 60 metres, Athenry’s Paul Hession, who is currently based in Scotland will be hoping to add to his tally of no less than 5 Irish records – one of which was set at the Odyssey 2 years ago at 6.63 seconds.

Irish Track Athlete of the Year Hession excelled himself in Beijing where he narrowly missed out on a place in the 200m final when Jamaica’s Usain Bolt set a world record.

Paul, who will be competing in Turin’s European Indoor Championships in March, will be racing against former US indoor champion Josh Norman whom he defeated in Sweden on Tuesday night.

Former World Indoor hurdles champion Derval O’Rourke is not presently in the sort of form that saw her break the Irish record here 3 years ago with a stunning 7.90 seconds. However, her coach Sean Cahill is confident of good performances in Belfast on the back of solid training sessions following a long period of injury.

Other performers to keep an eye on this weekend include Togher AC’s Robert Heffernan who broke the Irish 5km walk record at the Odyssey a year ago; Dundrum’s Deirdre Ryan who recently set a new Irish high jump record of 1.93m; teenage star Ciara Mageean in the 1500m and Ferrybank’s Kelly Proper who broke her Irish long jump record here a year ago.

Action gets underway at 4:30pm on Saturday and 1:00pm on Sunday. The event will be shown on RTÉ on Monday 9 February. Tickets are available at the Odyssey Box Office or through Ticketmaster.