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Ciara aiming to get on right track for Rio build-up

By Brian Hill

Published 06/05/2016

On the run: Ciara Mageean will take on the 1,500m at the Rio Olympics
On the run: Ciara Mageean will take on the 1,500m at the Rio Olympics

Rio Olympics-bound Ciara Mageean will head a quality line-up of athletes competing in tomorrow's third International Athletics meeting at the Mary Peters Track (1pm).

This early-season meeting, which is assisted by the Irish Milers Club, will be the first serious competition for many of the 300 athletes from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland, Poland and Hungary.

A select few Irish athletes will have their eyes on making a case for selection for the European Championships in July.

Mageean, however, will be using the occasion of her first track outing of the year to test her fitness for the Olympics in a mixed race over 3,000m.

This will be a useful variation for her prior to competing over her shorter 1,500m event.

She should perform well at Malone over the longer distance, where she holds the Northern Ireland record of eight minutes and 55 seconds.

The best of her male opposition should be Donore's John Travers, who ran seven minutes, 55 seconds indoors in the winter.

The Women's 400m hurdles will attract a lot of interest with Ballymena's Christine McMahon once again facing Ferrybank Irish international Jessie Barr.

Barr just got the verdict in this meeting two years ago but this time McMahon is on a high following her European time last weekend where she got silver in the BUCS Championships in 57.78 seconds.

However, both may have to play second fiddle to England's Jess Turner, who took BUCS gold in 57.49 seconds.

In the 400 metres, North Down's Andrew Mellon ran a PB of 47.48 seconds last week and should be in contention against England's James Gladman and Theo Campbell of Scotland, who won the 'B' race two years ago.

The Women's 800m should be a fascinating struggle involving all the top locals. Entries include Ireland's Laura Crowe, who was second to Mageean in this year's Irish Indoors. Crowe finished ahead of Lisburn AC athletes Erin McIlveen and Kelly Neely as well as Commonwealth Games runner Katie Kirk, all of whom will be racing.

The Men's 800m will involve England's Bobby Needham, Scotland's Cameron Boyek and Poland's Matusz Borowski and Kamil Gurdak, who have PBs of one minute, 47 seconds. St Abban's Brian Kelly, who won here two years ago, is in great form .

In the Women's 1,500 metres, Rio-bound 800m runner Ciara Everard of UCD will race top GB two-lap runner Rowena Cole and Banbridge's Emma Mitchell.

In the 100m sprints, Ballymena's Jonathan Browning will face junior Scottish star Cameron Tindle.

The absence of Amy Foster in the Women's event leaves the way clear for a battle between Lisburn's Megan Marrs and Scotland's Molly Scott. The duo will also clash in the hurdles event.

With local high hurdles star Ben Reynolds racing in the US, Bath's Dave King - who was fourth in the European Junior championships - will be the favourite in the men's event.

Belfast Telegraph

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