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Amy Foster breaks Irish record to seal place in World Championships team after Commonwealth snub

 

By Brian Hill

Lisburn athlete Amy Foster has been named in Ireland's team for the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham after breaking her own Irish record on Sunday.

Foster, who was controversially omitted from Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games squad, was named alongside Portaferry's Ciara Mageean in the squad for next month's worlds.

It came after the 29-year-old beat arch rival Joan Healy in the Irish Championships 60 metres in a record time of 7.27 seconds which broke the previous record of 7.30 secs which she jointly held with Ballymena's Anna Boyle.

While Amy was distraught about not making the Gold Coast team she is also certain to be selected for this summer's European Championships in Berlin.

Mageean, meanwhile, achieved the 15,00m standard last week.

County Longonderry long-jumper Adam McMullen, meanwhile, could be a late addition to Team Ireland. The World Indoor Championships take place from March 1 to March 4.

Also last weekend, in the British Champs in Birmingham Lisburn AC's Megan Marrs had the race of her life when she decimated the opposition to take the British 60 metres hurdles title in yet another NI best time of 8.16 secs.

The 20-year-old Loughborough student's time is only .02 secs short of the qualification mark for next month's World Champs in the same city. Megan easily beat GB runner-up Yasmin Millar (8.20 secs) in what was her sixth PB of the season. NI's Molly Courtney, who took the title last year, finished seventh.

"All my work from last year has paid off," a delighted Megan said. "I really can't believe I have got a national title. You can't beat it. I am so close to the qualification for the Worlds but I can't be disappointed."

Meanwhile, Ireland's top long jumper Adam McMullen came within an agonising 1 cm of equalling the Irish record in Dublin .

Adam's final round jump of 7.99 metres was just short of Ciaran McDonagh's 8 metres record set back in 2006. This now gives the Belfast man an excellent chance of qualifying for the World Indoors.

His leap is a NI best and comes just 24 hours after he finished a solid second in the British Champs behind former Olympic champion Greg Rutherford .

Adam jumped 7.75 metres behind Rutherford (7.80 metres) who is returning from a lengthy injury period.

"I was really pushing myself against Greg. We were pretty close. I really wanted to get that extra six centimetres for the win," said Adam.

In Dublin Gold Coast bound Leon Reid proved he is ready for the challenges in Australia with a PB time of 6.72 secs for victory in the 60 metres ahead of the classy Marcus Lawler (6.78 secs). A busy Leon took gold again in the 200 metres (21.36 secs) with Ballymena's Craig Newell second (21.64 secs).

QUB's Emma Mitchell, who is also on the Games team, easily won the 1,500 metres in 4.16.53 ahead of Lisburn's Kelly Neely .

There were other Northern victories for Finn Valley's Sommer Lecky in the high jump (1.84 metres), Andrew Mellon of Crusaders in the 400 metres (47.23 secs), QUB's Shane Martin who shared the pole vault title with Matthew Callin (4.30 metres), and Lisburn's Ellen McCarthy in the pole vault (3.50 metres).

Newcastle's Kerry Harty had to settle for second in the 3,000 metres behind Blackrock's Sarah Healy who set an Irish Junior record of 9.10.43.

Belfast Telegraph

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