Ulster's Reynolds and Mageean have China in their hands
Top Northern Ireland duo Ben Reynolds and Ciara Mageean will have to endure a nail-biting weekend hoping they will gain selection to the Irish team which will be announced next week for the World Athletics Championships in Beijing in two weeks time.
Both competitors will be in a strong group of local athletes who will be among some 500 competing at Santry, Dublin in the GloHealth Irish Senior Championships.
High hurdler Reynolds and 1,500 metres runner Mageean are among a small group of five individual Irish athletes who are just outside the qualification requirements for Beijing.
However, they could still qualify under a new IAAF arrangement whereby athletes will be selected who have not made the standard provided they fall within the quota total set for each event.
At present, Reynolds is ranked 36 in the World from the determined quota of 40 while Mageean is listed 42nd out of a total of 45 but the deadline for all competitors is midnight next Monday.
The safe alternative is for both athletes to achieve the qualification standard before the deadline. In Reynold’s case he is a frustrating 0.01 secs short of the requirement courtesy of his new Northern Ireland hurdles record of 13.48 secs last Sunday.
The 24-year-old Holywood man will be aiming to break his record again either in Liverpool on Saturday or in Dublin the following day where he will race against Irish No2 Gerard O’Donnell who recently set a PB of 13.87 secs.
Former World Junior silver medallist Mageean has said her priority remains next year’s Rio Olympics but she will find it hard to resist aiming for the required time at Santry given that she is already within the quota.
Her main opposition could come from Newcastle’s Kerry O’Flaherty who is already Beijing bound after her latest NI steeplechase record of 9.42.61.
While Lisburn AC’s Amy Foster tops the Irish list in the women’s 100 metres with 11.41 secs, Ferrybank’s Kelly Proper will be a major threat following her recent PB of 11.54 secs. Proper will also race over her stronger 200 metres event where she hopes to gain selection for Beijing as she falls within the quota.
In the men’s short sprint, Ballymena’s Jonathan Browning clocked a PB of 10.59 secs but he will struggle to defeat firm favourite Marcus Lawler of Carlow. Also entered is UU’s Adam McMullen who recently ran a best time of 10.72 secs. The 25 year old should have little difficulty taking another long jump title following his early season jump of 7.77 metres.
Ballymena’s Robert Moffitt should make the rostrum in the Hammer and 400 metres hurdler Christine McMahon should easily defend her title.