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Connolly's Olympic hopes rest with her rivals in London

By Brian Hill

Published 22/04/2016

Watching brief: Breege Connolly
Watching brief: Breege Connolly

North Belfast marathon star Breege Connolly will be on tenterhooks this weekend to see if she can bag one of the three Irish marathon slots for the Rio Olympics in August.

Connolly currently holds the treasured third fastest Irish marathon time, 2 hrs 37 mins 29 secs set in last year's London Marathon, behind Cork's Lizzie Lee and Kilcoole's Fionnuala McCormack.

As this time is over a minute faster than fourth-placed North club-mate Gladys Ganiel, Breege has decided not to race in this year's event on Sunday.

She will simply rely on her time from a year ago to gain selection thereby placing the pressure on other Irish athletes to run faster in London .

It would appear to be a sensible gamble as her only two serious rivals for the third place are Maria McCambridge and Clare McCarthy neither of whom has shown the sort of form to overtake Connolly's time.

"I listened to a lot of advice before I took my decision not to race in London," said Connolly.

"I raced over 3K, which is very short for me, to prove to the Irish selectors that I am injury-free. I will now only race in the immediate future in one or two 10K races".

McCormack is qualified for both the marathon and 10,000 metres in Rio. Should she decide to race in the 10,000 metres only the way could potentially be left clear for Ganiel to snatch the third selection spot.

Belfast Telegraph

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