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Ferrybank Girls Blitz Olympic Champion


Report from Jeremy Lyons Sometimes in track and field we can get caught up in times and standards and qualification and forget that it can sometimes be the heat of battle or the head to head that can be just as exciting. While the winning time of 24.10 in the women’s 200m at this weekend’s Woodie’s DIY Indoor Championship of Ireland won’t be recorded as the fastest 200m by an Irish athlete indoors, it will probably be one of the most exciting or significant. On paper reigning Olympic 400m champion, Christine Ohoruogu, would have been strongly fancied to beat the Ferrybank pair of 18 year old Niamh Whelan and long jumper Kelly Proper in the 200 final. Drawn in lane 2, Niamh Whelan had a blistering start and coming off the first bend had Ohoruogu in her sights. At this stage Proper was now getting into her stride and at the halfway mark there was nothing between Proper and Whelan with Ohoruogu a stride off.

In the Olympic final in Beijing Ohoruogu had come very late to reel in Sanya Richards and all had assumed with 50m to go and coming off the bend that the same would happen here but Whelan first, and then Proper had other ideas with both responding and not only holding off the Olympic champion but pulling away to record a famous victory. It will be timely boost for both women at an exciting time for both their careers as Proper got the victory in 24.10 with Whelan second.

Elsewhere, Deirdre Byrne ran solo to qualify for the 3000m in the European Indoor Championships on Saturday while Ciara Mageean broke her own Irish Junior record when winning the 1500m in 4:20.xx. Both Paul Hession and Derval O’ Rourke had to settle for 2nd place behind overseas athletes while the work Marian Andrews is doing with new coach Stuart Hogg seems to be bearing fruition as she won the 400m in 54.20 and is now closing in on the European Indoor standard of 53.70.

Saturday had seen two records with Kelly Proper equalling her own long jump record of 6.32m while Zoe Brown became the first Irish woman to clear 4.00m in the Pole Vault.

AAI Report