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Mageean heads list of NI's Games hopefuls but Foster may miss out


By Brian Hill

Athletics NI will shortly be nominating a total of 15 athletes for next year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

The nomination process is still ongoing with any appeal on the proposed selections to be submitted by lunchtime today. While an official announcement will not be made until this is completed, major changes aren't expected.

However, the nominations must be ratified by the NI Commonwealth Games Council, who will not announce the entire Games team until January 2.

The prioritisation of the names is important as it is very unlikely that the Games Council will select all 15 athletes because of the selection pressure from other sports and limitations on the total size of the team.

Suggestions indicate that chiefs would be delighted if 12 athletes were picked. This would represent one of the largest totals ever to be selected.

Key criteria in the selection process were an athlete's ranking in the Commonwealth and their potential to reach a final. Ciara Mageean is therefore top of the list because of her high placing of ninth in the rankings.

Sprinter Amy Foster is placed only 13th despite the fact that she achieved two qualification times, as she is ranked only 33rd in the Commonwealth.

Marathon runners Paul Pollock and Kevin Seaward also have relatively low placings. Like Foster, they are in an event in which a large number of Commonwealth athletes excel.

Laura Graham is at No.15 following her impressive run in the Berlin Marathon.

Hammer thrower Dempsey McGuigan is second on the list with five qualification marks. Just behind is Kate O'Connor, the 16-year-old heptathlete. She is followed by 17-year-old high jumper Sommer Lecky.

Nominees: 1.Ciara Mageean (1,500m); 2. Dempsey McGuigan (hammer); 3. Kate O'Connor (heptathlon); 4. Sommer Lecky (high jump); 5. Adam Kirk-Smith (steeplechase); 6. Leon Reid (200m); 7.Ben Reynolds (110m hurdles); 8.Adam McMullen (long jump); 9. Emma Mitchell (10,000m); 10. Paul Pollock (marathon); 11.Kevin Seaward (marathon); 12. Kerry O'Flaherty (steeplechase); 13.Amy Foster (100m); 14. Mollie Courtney (100m hurdles); 15. Laura Graham (marathon); 16. Additional Athlete for 4x100m men's relay.

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