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New Challenge for Hession at Odyssey


Olympic sprinter and multi Irish Record holder Paul Hession will once again race at the Woodie’s DIY Irish Indoor Athletic Championships in the Odyssey Arena Belfast on 19th-20th February. The 28 year old Athenry athlete will be contesting the 400m.

Hession is the holder of no less than 5 Irish indoor and outdoor records and was within a whisker of qualifying for the celebrated 200m final at the Beijing Olympics where sprint superstar Usain bolt broke the world record. Since then Hession has established himself as one of the top European sprinters.

Paul had targeted a medal at the 2010 European Championships. In the previous 3 seasons he was rarely beaten by a European athlete and had consistency on his side. Ultimately he was disappointed with a 6th place finish in the final in 20.67 seconds.

“After the previous three seasons I had a realistic ambition to do some serious damage there. In 07/08 I was the most consistent 200m runner in Europe and last year I was one of the best.

I think the most disappointing thing wasn’t necessarily coming sixth; it was more the performance on the day. Running 20.6/20.7s, even into slight headwinds, seemed like such a letdown after all the consistent runs I had over the previous 4 years”.

“I’m looking forward to competing again at the Odyssey. I enjoy coming back every year. This year I have decided to do the 400m, which will be a new challenge.

I’m not putting much pressure on myself. I just want to get out there and try something different before returning to my 200m training for the summer season. Two laps will be a long way for me, but hopefully I will enjoy it!”

Following the Odyssey Hession intends to compete a week later over 60 metres. As he will not be defending his 60 metres title, the field is wide open for some of Ireland’s top sprinters including Dean Adams who finished 2nd last year. Adams opened his 2011 season at the Loughborough Open last weekend with 6.92s for third place.

He will face stiff competition from Craig Fleming of Belgrave Harriers who has a PB of 6.87 set at last year’s Birmingham Games. Other likely contenders include Steven Colvert who had a fantastic track season in 2010 recording PBs in the 100m (10.62) and 200m (21.23) which qualified him for the European Championships in Barcelona. Jonathan Holmes who won the 100m at the Nationals last summer in 10.71 and Chris Russell (Ferrybank) are also likely to be in contention.

RTÉ 2 will be showing highlights of the Championships on an OB Sports special on Monday 21st of February at 19:00 – 20:00.

This is the eighth Irish Indoors meeting in the North which has been made possible by the generous assistance of title sponsor Woodie’s DIY and funding partners Belfast City Council.

Woodie’s DIY Irish Indoor Athletic Championships is also sponsored by accommodation partner the Premier Inn who have three hotels based in Belfast- Titanic Quarter (120 rooms), Waring Street (171 rooms) and Alfred Street Hotel (148 rooms).

Tickets are available from Ticketmaster outlets or the Odyssey box office. Visit www.indoorathletics.net for more information.