Anger turns to delight as Amy is drafted into NI's Games side
Sprinter Amy Foster breathed a sigh of relief yesterday after she received the unexpected news that she would be travelling with Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games team to the Gold Coast in under three weeks' time after all.
The Lisburn AC athlete had originally been overlooked for the trip to Australia but the door has opened following the de-selection of boxer Conor Wallace.
It will be Foster's third Games after she competed at Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014.
A surprised and euphoric Foster said: "I am absolutely delighted to be finally selected. I was disappointed that I was not originally picked but that is behind me now and I am concentrating on the Games.
"I have run well indoors and now have a short time to prepare for moving from 60m to 100m. I am confident I can compete well at this level. The Games have always been very important to me.
"I am very thankful for the support I have received from Athletics NI and the efforts that have been made between them and the Games Council to include me in the team."
It has been a roller coaster 2018 for the 29-year-old Ards woman. She has consistently reigned supreme in Irish sprinting for the best part of 10 years, however her world seemed to fall apart in early January when she was among a small number of high-profile athletes who failed to make the Athletics NI selection list for the Games.
Foster, Olympic steeplechaser Kerry O'Flaherty and multi-marathon winner Laura Graham all failed to gain a place in the final selection of 11 athletes. The selection procedure had a key criterion relating to an athlete's ranking within the Commonwealth.
Foster was unfortunate in that her 33rd Games placing in the 100m reflected the fact that sprinting in the Commonwealth is world class in contrast to many other track and field events.
At the time, Foster reacted angrily to her non-selection by asking what more she could have done given the fact she had achieved the sprint qualification time of 11.44 seconds on three occasions in three countries.
The trainee teacher then proceeded to show that she deserved a place on the Games team.
In late January in an indoors meeting in London, she equalled her Irish 60m record of 7.30 seconds which she jointly held with Ballymena's Anna Boyle and Ciara Neville. She then set a new record of 7.27 seconds two weeks later to take another Irish title.
Foster then competed in the World Indoor Championships last weekend in Birmingham where she ran a useful time of 7.35 seconds in her heat.
Meanwhile, five local athletes have been named by Athletics Ireland in teams which will compete in the World Half Marathon in Valencia on March 24.
Paul Pollock and Kevin Seaward will use it as final preparation for the Gold Coast. Belfast's Stephen Scullion is also named.
Mourne AC's Laura Graham and Armagh's Fionnuala Ross are in the women's team.