Northern Ireland’s Zoe Brown will make history at this weekend’s European Indoor Athletic Championships in Turin when she becomes the first pole vaulter ever to compete for Ireland at a major championship male or female, junior or senior.
Brown has had a tremendous start to 2009, breaking the Irish pole vault record three weekends in a row, with a final winning jump and qualifying height of 4.20m in the Celtic Cup in Cardiff. The previous weekend she placed third in the Aviva UK Championships with a leap of 4.05m and 4.00m at the Irish Indoor Championships in Belfast at the beginning of February.
Brown is part of a 17-strong squad for the three-day Championships which begin tomorrow, and is joined by double gold medallist David Gillick who will hope to defend his 400m title.
Zoe said: “After a three year absence from major championships it is not only a great honour but a great relief to finally be managing my injuries and able to compete for Ireland at an International level.
“Turin is hopefully just the beginning of what has the potential to be an exciting year as I endeavour to jump higher in the lead into the summer season.”
Also included is 16-year-old Christine McMahon from Ballymena & Antrim AC, the youngest member of the Irish squad. This is her first international call-up at this level where she is a member of the 4x400m team along with Marian Andrews, Brona Furlong, Gemma Hynes, Claire Bergan and Jessica Zebo. McMahon ran a 400m personal best time of 57.34 at the Celtic Cup International recently in Cardiff to finish in second place.
The Belfast Royal Academy pupil said: “The idea of competing at the European Indoors in Turin hasn't really sunk in yet. Although I am a little anxious at the prospect of rubbing shoulders with such highly accomplished athletes, I am mostly looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere and hopefully running to the best of my ability”.