Belfast Telegraph

Local athletes gear up for Irish Indoor Athletics Championships

By Michael Bashford

Over 100 athletes are set to take part in this weekend's seventh Irish Indoor Athletics Championships.

The landmark Odyssey Arena, which is the flagship of the Harbour Estate and Titanic Quarter, will host Ireland's only indoor hydraulic 200-metre running track.

It will once again be transformed into a showcase for top class athletics from around the world, this Saturday and Sunday.

Top class international athletes have attended the event for the last number of years including Christine Ohuruogu, Decathlon world record holder and Olympic Gold medalist Roman Sebrle in 2007 and 2008, Olympic long jumper John Moffitt and Darren Campbell and Mark Lewis Francis, who were members of the Great Britain Olympic Gold Medal 4x100 relay team from Athens.

Top athlete Derval O’Rourke has already confirmed his attendance for this year along with Olive Loughnane and Kate Veale, one of Ireland’s most talented up and coming race walkers.

They will also be joined by a host of local athletes, among them Lyndsey Glover and Paralympic Gold medalist Michael McKillop.

Lyndsey, who will be taking part in the shot putt event, said she was looking forward to the occasion.

“Seeing as this is an indoor event I will be taking part in the shot putt as my normal event is the hammer throw,” she said.

“But I’m looking forward to the weekend as it is in front of family and friends and although that will add a little bit of nerves to the occasion I think it will give me that little bit of a boost as well.”

Michael McKillop, who will take part in the 3k event, said: “Having this event at the Odyssey is good for athletics in Northern Ireland.

“Not many people have experienced indoor athletics before in a warm environment so hopefully it will give people a taste of what athletics is all about.”

Michael said he has three main targets during this year’s racing calendar. The Odyssey event this weekend is one of them.

“This indoor meeting is against able bodied athletes and so it will be quicker with tougher oppostion,” he continued.

“But hopefully my friends and family who come along and support me will help me achieve my goals.”

Tickets for this weekend's championships — which range from £8 to £50 — are available from the Odyssey Arena on 02890 739074 or Ticketmaster on 08702434455.

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